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Mags go from ratings rags to riches

Bolstered by recent hot news topics, including the one-year anniversary of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death and escalating Survivor suspense with each new island cast-off, four of the five syndicated magazines posted double-digit ratings gains during the most recent tabulations.

For the week ended July 16, both Inside Edition (2.8) and Access Hollywood (2.3) rebounded from all-time lows posted previously, soaring 22% and 35%, respectively, according to Nielsen Media Research. During that time, King World's Inside Edition ran the segment "Real Survivor"-detailing a true story, which occurred several years ago, about three young people stranded on a deserted Canadian island for a month.

"The whole sell of that show, bouncing off Survivor, was that you can now meet people who really went through a life-or-death experience," said Inside Edition Executive Producer Charles Lachman.

Marc Rosenwieg, King World's East Coast senior VP of programming and production, added, "[Using reality] as a way to get people into the tent to show them what else you have, they may like what they see and start coming back. That's certainly worthwhile."

It also didn't hurt to escape the July 4 holiday, which generated a widespread slump among the majority of syndicated series. Others rebounding from worst-ever showings during the traditionally weak TV viewing period were off-net series Friends (up 14% to a 5.6) and Seinfeld (up 16% to a 5.1) and Oprah (up 16% to a 5.8).

Also on the upswing in the magazine arena was the perennial leader, Entertainment Tonight, which jumped 16% to a 5.7-its highest mark in seven weeks. ET's closest competitor, Extra, surged 10% to a 3.2. Rookie National Enquirer was up 6% to a 1.8.