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Magazines Get Strong Start to New Year

NBC Universal's Access Hollywood gets this week's award for most improved syndie, gaining 24% in the week ending January 9 to a new season high 2.1 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show, starring Billy Bush, also gained 38% to hit a 1.1 among women 18-49, a key demographic.

All other magazines were either up or steady on the week. CBS Television Distribution's genre leader Entertainment Tonight improved 8% to a 4.3. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition gained 7% to a 3.0.Three shows - Warner Bros.' TMZ, CTD's The Insider and Warner Bros.' Extra - tied for fourth place, with TMZ and The Insider flat at a 1.8 and Extra up 13% in households and 40% among young women 18-34.

Two of the entertainment weekend shows turned in strong performances, with Insider Weekend gaining 27% to a 1.4 and Extra Weekend jumping 20% for the week and year to a 1.2.

Access was solid across the board with the two leading game shows both hitting season highs. CTD's Wheel of Fortune posted a 13% gain to a new season high 7.8, while CTD's Jeopardy! improved 12% to its own new season high 6.4. The games' performances were less impressive with Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire unchanged at a 2.3; Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud down 5% to a 1.8; and Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader down 9% to a last place 1.0.

Also in access, the off-net sitcoms held their own, mostly gaining or holding steady for the week. Warner Bros.' leader Two and a Half Men rose 13% to a 6.2. In second place, Twentieth's Family Guy gained 14% to a 4.1. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids tied CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond with each flat at a 3.0. Sony's Seinfeld advanced 8% to a 2.7. NBCU's The Office upticked 5% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' George Lopez fell 4% to a 2.2. Twentieth's King of the Hill improved 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends was flat at a 1.9.

CTD's Judge Judy was queen of daytime for the sixth consecutive week, leading all shows including CTD's Oprah with a new season-high 4.7, up 9% from the prior week and the show's best mark since May.

While Judy had a stellar week, all of the other court shows declined. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown dipped 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' People Court lost 5% to a 1.9, while Warner's Judge Mathis dropped 6% to a 1.6. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court each were off 7% to a 1.3. Warner's Judge Jeanine Pirro trailed the field, dropping 18% to a 0.9.

In talk, Oprah went back into repeats and lost 5% to a 4.2. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, on which Regis Philbin announced Tuesday that this would be his last season, also fell, slipping 3% to a 2.8. On the other hand, CTD's Dr. Phil is on the rise, gaining 12% for the week and 22% over the previous two weeks to tie Live. Phil also gained viewers among women 18-34, with a 33% increase to a 0.8.

Sony's Dr. Oz declined 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' Ellen, on the other hand, increased 14% to a 2.4. Coming off a season high, NBCU's Maury eroded 13% to a 2.0. CTD's The Doctors grew 6% in households to a 1.9, notching a 50% increase among women 18-34. Similarly, CTD's Rachael Ray improved 6% among households to a 1.7. NBCU's Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos each were flat at a 1.5 and 1.4, respectively. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, recently renewed for season three, sank 10% to a 0.9.

CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, in reruns, remained this season's top first-run newcomer despite a 7% dip to a 1.3. Sony's Nate Berkus added 10% to a new season-high 1.1. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics fell 11% to a 0.8. Litton's Judge Karen's Court, renewed for next year, tumbled 14% to a 0.6. Ratings for Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross were unavailable.

Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother was up 4% to a 2.5 to remain this season's top overall rookie. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns was flat at a 1.4. Warner's New Adventures of Old Christine lost 7% to a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's E! True Hollywood Story sank 20% to a 0.8. Likewise, Disney-ABC's one-hour strip Ugly Betty stumbled 13% to a 0.7, tying Warner's Entourage, which was flat, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which jumped 17%. NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives remained at a 0.5.