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Oscars are prize for ET, Access

The Academy Awards bring out the best in the syndicated newsmagazines, and for Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, the Oscars mean big ratings.

Entertainment Tonight's post-Oscar coverage on Monday, March 27, averaged a 7.8 national rating, the show's single highest rating of the current season. ET improved over last year's post-Oscar coverage rating (7.5), and the big night also helped the 19-year-old newsmagazine attain a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49 for the week ended April 2. ET was the week's highest rated first-run syndicated show in adults 18-49, averaging a 6.5 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. A spokeswoman for the Paramount Domestic Television newsmagazine said "everyone involved" on Entertainment Tonight worked on the Monday episode, which also featured an ET exclusive story on MTV personality Tom Green's battle with cancer.

As for Access Hollywood, the ET rival didn't fare as well in the national ratings, scoring only a 2.4 rating for the week, but the NBC/Warner Bros. series fared well in many of the major U.S. markets. On March 27, Access Hollywood out-dueled Entertainment Tonight in both New York and Los Angeles by wide margins. Access Hollywood scored an 8.5/14 to ET's 5.5/10 in New York and a 7.2/11 to ET's 4.4/7 in Los Angeles.

The difference between the two newsmagazines, says Bill Carroll of station rep Katz Television, is the station lineup each syndicated series has nationally. "It's not surprising that Entertainment Tonight is so dominant in the national ratings," says Carroll, Katz's vice president and director of programming. "They have the better clearances and time periods as the granddaddy of all newsmagazines. But Access Hollywood, which is cleared on the NBC owned-and-operated stations in the major markets, pulls in very credible numbers there. It is outside those markets where its ratings and clearances are not equal."