Maury Keeps Plugging

As the dust settles on the season premieres, in at least one case, it's the tried-and-true that is holding up. Universal's Maury is the only syndicated talk show that is up year-to-date, while it holds on to fourth place behind King World's The Oprah Winfrey Show, Paramount/King World's Dr. Phil and Buena Vista's Live With Regis and Kelly.

In households, Maury
is up 4%, to a 2.9 from a 2.8. Granted, it's not a huge improvement, but the rest are down: Oprah
3%, Regis and Kelly
13%, Universal's Jerry Springer
11%, Paramount's Montel Williams Show
4%, Sony's Ricki Lake
12%, Warner Bros.'Jenny Jones
22%, and NBC Enterprises'The Other Half

also is up in female demographics, 14% in women 18-24, 28% in women 18-34, 17% in women 18-49 and 12% in women 25-54, making it the fastest-growing talk strip among women 18-34 and 18-49. The numbers also indicate that the show skews young.

The show also is the fastest-growing talk strip among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, jumping 31%, 23% and 15%, respectively, in those demos.

"As the season progresses, everyone comes back to shows that they know and feel most comfortable with," says Steve Rosenberg, president of Universal Domestic Television. "Maury
can be a lot of things to a lot of people."

Both Rosenberg and the show's executive producer, Amy Rosenblum, say host Maury Povich works hard with affiliates to promote his show, which has been on the air since 1991 and distributed by Universal since 1998.

It's doing particularly well in some key top-20 markets, such as Los Angeles, where the show is up 23% year-to-year on KTLA-TV at noon. Or in Houston, where it's up 43% on KPRC-TV at 10 a.m.

The fact that Maury
is distributed by a company that doesn't own TV stations also is a tribute to its staying power, says Rosenberg. "Not owning a station group is problematic only in that we don't have an absolute track that we produce product for. If you are Twentieth, you can go forward on the Fox station group, for example. So if you are looking at it that way, we are somewhat hobbled. But what we've done is be pretty successful as everybody's second choice."

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.