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Syndication Recovers From Weak Week

Ratings for most syndicated shows were stronger for the week ended June 25, despite having to go up against Shaq and company in the NBA championship game on June 20 and the start of the networks' summer season.

But that strength did not generally extend to year-to-year comparisons, with only a few first-run strips recording higher ratings than last year at this time.

Entertainment magazines, which got a boost from coverage of the Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban nuptials Down Under was the only category in syndication where the ratings for all of the top four shows either held steady or improved over last year.

Entertainment Tonight, which marked 10 full years--520 consecutive weeks--as the top news magazine, scored a 4.6, up 10% over last year at this time, the biggest year-to-year increase among first-run strips in any genre. ET was also up 2% from the week before.

Inside Edition at a 3.1, was unchanged from last year, but down 3% from the week before.

The Insider was the number three magazine with a 2.5, even week-to-week and year-to-year.

In fourth, Access Hollywood had a 2.3, up 5% for the week and year. Extra hit a new season low for the second week in a row, down 5% to a 1.9 and down 10% from the same week last year.

In talk, Oprah, after hitting season lows in the previous two weeks, rebounded to a 5.7, up 8%  though unchanged from last year. Dr Phil, who also had a season low last week, was up

10% to a 4.5, but still down 2% from the same week last year. Live with Regis & Kelly dropped to a new season low 2.9, down 9% for the week and down 12% from last year. Maury at a 2.6, was up 4% from the week but down 10% from last year. Jerry Springer was up 6% to a 1.9, but still down 10% from last year.

In the rookie talk race, Tyra Banks outrated Martha for the third straight week with a 1.4, unchanged, though Martha's 1.2 was up 9%.

Wheel of Fortune topped the games shows with a 6.8, unchanged for the week and down only 1% from last year. Jeopardy was second at a 5.6, up 4% for the week but down 7% from the same time last year.

In court action, Judge Judy, coming off a season low last week, was up 7% to a 4.5, unchanged from last year. Second-place Judge Joe Brown held steady at a 2.8, down 10% from last year.