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Martha , Lake take dips

For the week ending June 9, one of the big stories was the 14 percent drop
for Martha Stewart Living, the second-largest drop of any talk show (it's
actually more a talk/lifestyle show). Living dropped to a 1.2, equaling a
season low and down 20 percent from last year at this time.

The drop, coincidentally or not, came just as reports began to surface that
Stewart had sold ImClone Systems Inc. shares in advance of a negative Food and Drug Administration decision that
hammered the biotech's stock. Stewart has since defended the sale as above board
and based on public information, and not insider information.

To be fair, coincidence might have the upper hand since the ratings for all
talk shows were soft. Out of the dozen talkers, none was up for the week.
Still, Ricki Lake, the only talker to fall more precipitously than Stewart,
was down 16 percent to a 1.6. That's down 33 percent from last year at this

The top three talkers were Oprah, unchanged from last week at a 5.5
and down 10 percent from last year; Live with Regis and Kelly, No. 2
with a 3.3, unchanged for the week and down 11 percent from last year; and
Maury, down 9 percent to a 3.1 for the week and down 6 percent from last

On the upside, all three of the late-night rookie dating shows were up.
Elimidate was up 6 percent to a 1.7, matching its highest rating of the
season. Fifth Wheel was up 8 percent to a 1.4, and Shipmates was up
11 percent to a 1.0. All three of the late-night shows are renewed for a second

The top rookies overall were Texas Justice and The Weakest Link,
tied at a 1.9. Texas Justice was down 17 percent after being pre-empted by
French Open Tennis in a number of markets. Link was flat.