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Syndication Ratings: Court Shows, Magazines Stay Strong

Syndication ratings for the week ending Mar. 22, were marked by numerous preemptions and schedule disruptions for shows cleared on CBS affiliates as the annual NCAA basketball tournament began. But that didn't stop magazine-rack winner Entertainment Tonight (CTD) from having another glowing week.

Entertainment Tonight was preempted in sixteen of the top 30 markets including the four largest markets on Mar. 19 and 20 due to March Madness coverage. Yet ET had a three-day average of 4.4 for the week, up 5% from the previous week. ET had a 10% increase to a 4.6 for a show featuring a report on the latest arrests in the Anna Nicole Smith drug case on Mar. 16. CTD's Inside Edition fell 3% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' TMZ slipped 4% to 2.2. NBCU's Access Hollywood rose 5% to a 2.2. CTD's The Insider was even at 1.9. Extra gained 6% to a 1.8.

Four court shows improved week to week. CTD's Judge Joe Brown gained 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' People's Court was up 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis added 7% to a 1.6. Further back, Judge David Young jumped 14% to a 0.8. CTD's Judge Judy was tops again with a 4.1 but was down 9% from the week before. In fifth place, Twentieth's Judge Alex was flat at 1.5. Twentieth's Divorce Court was also unchanged at 1.4.

Among the talk shows, CBS Television Distribution's Oprah sank 9% to a 4.9. CTD's Dr. Phil, the only show in first-run up last week, gave back 18% to 3.1 after getting hit with numerous basketball preemptions. Disney/ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly was flat at 2.6. Warner Bros.' Ellen was also unchanged at 2.2. NBCU's Maury increased 6% to a 1.8. CTD's Rachel Ray dipped 6% to 1.7. Warner Bros.' Tyra Banks, NBCU's Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos, Twentieth's the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and NBCU's Martha Stewart, were all flat at 1.1, 1.1, 1.1, 0.9, and 0.7 respectively.

Among game shows, Disney/ABC's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire hit a new season low, dropping 4% to a 2.3. At the head of the list, CTD's Wheel of Fortune inched up 1% to a 7.2. CTD's Jeopardy fell 7% to 5.5. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was rose 7% to a 1.5.

In the rookie shows, CTD's The Doctors made it nine weeks in a row as the top newcomer with a 1.8, down 5%. Deal Or No Deal was a close second with an unchanged 1.7. Warner Bros.' Bonnie Hunt declined 10% to 0.9, tying Sony's Judge Karen, which was unchanged. Debmar-Mercury's Trivial Pursuit remained stuck at 0.6 for the eighth straight week. Program Partner's Family Court trailed with a 0.5 for the ninth consecutive week.

In off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men was down 4% to a 4.8. Twentieth's Family Guy slipped 3% to a 3.8. Sony's Seinfeld lost 8% to a 3.4. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond was unchanged at 3.1. Warner Bros.' George Lopez rose 4% to a 2.8. Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at 2.7. Warner Bros.' Friends added 4% to a 2.5. Sony's King of Queens tumbled 11% to 2.4.

Off-cable Storm Stories was up 8% to a 1.3. Off-TBS strip House of Payne was down 4% to 2.2. The first-run weekly action hour Legend of the Seeker (Disney/ABC) was flat at a 1.7.