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Syndication Ratings: Gavelers Rule Sweeps

The results of the February sweeps period (Feb. 4-Mar.3) are
in and Nielsen gave its most favorable verdict to the court shows, the only
genre in which every strip was up over last year's syndicated sweep
ratings.  The February 2009 sweeps were
delayed until March due to the digital TV transition.  This year, the Winter Olympics hurt some
shows while not effecting or in a few cases helping others.

CBS Television Distribution's (CTD) Judge Judy blew away the court room category averaging a 4.8, which
was more than double the rating of its closest legal rivals.  In sweep-to-sweep comparisons, Judy was up 9% from last year.  Other gavelers also turned in hot
performances.  CTD's Judge Joe Brown grew 5% to 2.3. 
Warner Bros.' Peoples' Court
gained 16% to 2.2.  Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis advanced 13% to 1.8.  Twentieth's Judge Alex added 7% to 1.6. 
Twentieth's Divorce Court
negotiated a 7% increase to 1.5.  Warner
Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro, which was
not syndicated last year, trailed with a 1.1.

In the magazine race, CTD's Entertainment Tonight handily won its 78th straight
sweep, averaging a 4.6, up 7% from last year, while its ET Weekend surged 30% sweep-to-sweep to a 2.6.  CTD's Inside
gained 10% to 3.3.  NBCU's Access Hollywood improved 5% to
2.3.  Warner Bros.' TMZ was down 4% to 2.2. 
CTD's The Insider was 6% ahead
of last year at 1.9.  Warner Bros.' Extra climbed 6% to 1.9.

Among talk shows, CTD's Oprah
continued to lead, although it was down 7% from last year.  CTD's Dr.
, which was heavily preempted by the Olympics, was the no. 2 talker
despite losing 14% to 3.0.  Disney/ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly was up 8% to 2.8.  Warner Bros.' Ellen Degeneres got a 9% bump to 2.5.  NBCU's Maury
jumped 22% to 2.2.  CTD's Rachael Ray rallied 6% to 1.9.  CTD's The
held steady at 1.9.  NBCU's Jerry Springer spiked 27% to 1.4.  NBCU's Steve
was up 18% to 1.3.  Warner
Bros.' Bonnie Hunt slipped 10% to 0.9
and NBCU's Martha Stewart stumbled
14% to a last-place 0.6.

Game shows were a mixed bag. 
CTD's Wheel of Fortune inched
up 3% to 7.4.  CTD's Jeopardy rose 9% to 6.3. 
Disney/ABC's Who Wants to Be a
saw ratings inflate 8% to 2.6. 
Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud
fell 7% to 1.4.  NBCU's Deal Or No Deal plunged 35% decline to

Among syndication newcomers, NBCU's The Office was the top off-net sitcom, growing 7% from November to
a 3.2.  It ended the sweep on a high note
with a 3.3, its best rating ever in the week ending Mar. 7.  CTD's Everybody
Hates Chris
was unchanged from November at 1.9.  Twentieth's My Name Is Earl was down 5% to 1.8. 

In first-run, Sony's Dr.
was up 8% from the November sweep to a 2.8.  Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader took a 6% demotion to 1.6.  Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was flat at 1.2. 
Litton's Street Court chalked
up a 17% gain to 0.7. 

Warner Bros.' Two and
a Half Men
topped the off-net sitcoms with a 14% jump to 5.6.  Twentieth's Family Guy faded 10% to 3.6. 
Sony's Seinfeld sank 19% to
2.9.  Warner Bros.' George Lopez was unchanged at 2.8. 
CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond
dropped 13% to 2.7.  Twentieth's King of the Hill declined 7% to
2.5.  Warner Bros.' Friends plunged 12% to 2.2. 
Sony's King of Queens dropped
39% to 1.7.  House of Payne suffered a 30% loss to 1.6.  Frasier
tumbled 17% to 1.5.