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Rookies Rate in Syndie Sweeps

The week ending Feb. 6 included the first weekend of the February sweeps, which suggested a look at the ratings performance of syndicated weekly shows, where a couple of rookies, Insider Weekend and off-net CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ranked high.

In first run, Insider Weekend opened the sweep in second place among weekly half-hours, with a 2.3, tying its highest rating in the series and up 10% from the week before.

Leading the pack as usual was Wheel of Fortune weekend, up 4% to a new season-high 5.4. In a three-way tie for third at a 2.0 were Inside Edition weekend, matching its season high and up 5% over the previous week; Chris Matthews, unchanged; and Ebert & Roeper, down 9%.

Among the first run weekly hours, ET weekend was number one with a 3.6, down 14% after hitting its season high the week before. Stargate SG1 was second with a 2.1, down 5%, and Access Hollywood weekend was third with a 1.9, down 5%.

CSI topped off-net weekly hours with a 5.4, down 5%, followed by The Practice, up 10% to a 2.2, and ER at a 1.9, up 6%.

Among the off-net weekly half-hours, Seinfeld weekend was on top, with a 6.3, up 3%; Everybody Loves Raymond weekend was next with a 4.3, up 5%. That 70's Show weekend was third with a 2.4, down 17%.

The week also included the first two weekdays of the sweep. Most strips barely moved as HUT (homes using television) levels declined by nearly 800,000 households, or about 2%, from the prior week.

The top two talk shows turned in mixed performances. Oprah at a 7.7 was unchanged from the week before, but down 5% from last year at this time. Dr. Phil was up 4% to a 5.5, but down 2% from last year.

Court shows were all flat or down slightly. The highest scorers were Judge Judy at a 5.2, which was down 4% for the week but even with last year; and Judge Joe Brown, at a 3.7, which was even week-to-week and year-to-year.

Elsewhere , none of the new first-run strips were up. The Insider was down 10% to a 2.6, but still the top rookie for the 21st week in a row. Jane Pauley at a 1.6, Tony Danza at a 1.4, and Larry Elder at a 1.0, were all unchanged from the previous week. Ambush Makeover was down 17% to a 1.0, while Pat Croce at a 0.7, and Life & Style at a 0.5, were both flat.

In access, some shows were preempted in some markets by the president's State of the Union address Feb. 9, and all of the top-tier game shows, mags and sitcoms were lower or unchanged for the week.