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Syndication Ratings: TMZ on the Ascent

Warner Bros.' rookie magazine, TMZ, had its best week ever for the week ending Jan. 20, shooting up 26% for the week to a season-high 2.4 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That performance makes TMZ the clear rookie leader. Those ratings also translated to key demos, with ratings up 50% to a 1.8 among women 18-34, up 31% to a 1.7 among women 18-49 and up 38% to a 1.8 among women 25-54.

TMZ wasn't the only entertainment magazine to see gains for the week. CBS' Entertainment Tonight jumped 8% for the week and 49% over the past three weeks to a 5.2, largely due to constant coverage of pop star Britney Spears. A Jan. 17 report about four paparazzi chasing the singer drove the show's ratings up 15% higher, hitting a 5.5 for the day.

CBS' Inside Edition inched up 3% to a 3.6, a six-week high for the show. NBC Universal's Access Hollywood hiked up 8% to a 2.6. CBS' The Insider improved 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' Extra, in last place, was flat at a 2.0.

Talk shows also had a strong week. CBS' talk leaders, Oprah and Dr. Phil, each grew 9% to a 5.9 and a 5.0, respectively. That's the highest rating for Oprah -- driven by a show on "Oprah and Bob Greene's Best Life Challenge" -- in nine weeks. It also was the best show for Dr. Phil in eight weeks, even though the talk-show host is still apologizing for his poorly received visit to a distressed Spears' hospital room a few weeks ago.

Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly climbed 7% to a 3.1. CBS' Rachael Ray jumped 10% to a new season-high 2.3, helped by a 14% increase Jan. 14 for an episode featuring Travis Stork, who will be featured next fall on CBS' upcoming The Doctors. Warner Bros.' Ellen DeGeneres was up 5% to keep pace with Rachael.

NBCU's Maury took sixth place at a 2.0, up 5%. CBS' Montel Williams, which is going out of original production after this season and instead will be sold as a "best-of" package, climbed 7% to a 1.6. NBCU's Jerry Springer sprung 8% to a 1.3.

Warner Bros.' Tyra Banks built 9% to match her season-high 1.2, helped by a full-hour interview with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) Jan. 18 that sent ratings up 18% to 1.3.

In last place, NBCU's Martha Stewart held steady at a 1.1.

Among the rookie talkers, Twentieth Television's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet gained 10% to a 1.1 to lead all six newcomers in daytime. A Jan. 16 performance by singer K.T. Tunstall sent ratings up 20% to a 1.2. NBCU's The Steve Wilkos Show, renewed for season two in more than 85% of the country, held steady at a 0.9.

Warner Bros.' newcomer Two and a Half Men dominated the off-network sitcoms with a season-high 5.6, up 6%. Fellow rookie, Twentieth's Family Guy, remained in second place at an unchanged 4.6.

Sony's Seinfeld, now in its 13th season, upset CBS' seventh-season vet Everybody Loves Raymond, rising 13% to a 4.4 to beat Raymond's 4.2, a 2% bump. That marks the first time Seinfeld has beat Raymond since 2005.

In fifth place, Sony's King of Queens climbed 3% to a season-high 3.4, followed by Warner Bros.' freshman, George Lopez, which lost 3% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.' vet, Friends, remained flat at a 3.0.

Among the court shows, CBS' Judge Judy continued to lead the courts at a 5.2, a 2% drop from the prior week. Judy, in process of being renewed through 2012, remains the only strip in first-run syndication to be up over last year, improving 4% on the week compared to the same week last year.

CBS' Judge Joe Brown remained in second place, unchanged at a 2.9. Warner Bros.' People's Court fell 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis gained 10% to a 2.3, while Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex each grew 6% to a 1.9.

Sony's Judge Hatchett -- which, like Montel, is going out of original production after this season -- remained flat at a 1.3, tying Twentieth's Cristina's Court, which climbed 8%. Bringing up the rear, Sony's Judge Maria Lopez gained 25% to a 1.0.

Among the rookie gavelers, Sony's Judge David Young fell 10% to a 0.9, while Radar Entertainment's Jury Duty, also renewed for a second season, jumped 50% to a 0.3 from a 0.2.

Game shows were flat to slightly up, although CBS' Wheel of Fortune dipped 1% to an 8.2. CBS' Jeopardy! was flat at a 6.7. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire grew 3% to a 3.2, tying its season high. And Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud jumped 11% to a new season-high 2.0.

Among the new games, Program Partners' Merv Griffin’s Crosswords, renewed this week for season two, was flat at a 0.8, while Twentieth's Temptation gained 20% to a 0.6 from a 0.5.