Syndication Trends Down Post-Sweeps

The national syndicated ratings for the week ending March 12 trended down for most categories in the first full week following the heavily promoted February sweeps and as many shows went into repeat mode.

Bucking that trend were most of the magazine shows, helped by next-day coverage of the Academy Awards March 6. All of the magazines either held steady or moved higher from the week before, and almost all were up over the same week last year.

The top mag, Entertainment Tonight, averaged a 5.6 rating, up 4% for the week and up 2% over last year. Its Oscar coverage rating on March 6 was a 6.3, up 17% from the prior week. Inside Edition was up 3% for the week to a 3.7 and even with last year. Although it is not strictly an entertaniment newsmag, its March 6 rating was up 6% from the week before anyway, to a 3.8.

ET spin-off, The Insider, held even with the prior week and was up 7% from last year to a 2.9 after scoring a 3.1 for its Oscar coverage, up 7% from the prior week.

In fourth place, Access Hollywood was steady week to week at a 2.7 but up 8% from last year.

Its Oscar coverage on Monday averaged a 2.9, up 7% from the prior week. Extra was even for the week at a 2.4, but up 9% over last year with a 2.6 on Oscar Monday, up 8% from the previous Monday.

In daytime, only two of the 11 talk shows were able to show any increase from the week before.

The biggest percentage gain was recorded by Live With Regis & Kelly, up 6% to a 3.6, which was even with last year. The only other talker to improve was Oprah, the talk leader, up 4% week to week and year to year to a 7.3.

The No. 2 talker, Dr. Phil, was down 4% to a 5.3 and down 12% from last year. Maury was unchanged at a 2.8 and down 7% from last year. Ellen DeGeneres rounded out the top five with a 2.4, even week to week but up 4% from last year.

Elsewhere, most game shows were down a bit, with the exception of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, which held even at a 3.4 and dipped just 3% from last year. The highest-rated game, Wheel of Fortune, was down 2% to a 9.0 and off 6% from last year. Jeopardy was down 1% to a 7.3 and fell 10% from last year. Family Feud was down 5% for the week to a 2.1, also down 5% from last year.

Everybody Loves Raymond led the off-net sitcoms with a 6.4, down 3% for the week and down 9% from last year. Seinfeld was down 3% to a 5.8 and off 8% from last year. Friends averaged a 4.9, down 6% from the week before and down 9% from last year.

It was a good week for a couple of the new off-net weeklies. 24 hit a new series high in syndication, a 2.6, which was up 13%. Third-place Davinci's Inquest also recorded a personal best, a 2.1, up 5% from the week before. In between the two, in second place, was Alias, which jumped a whopping 21% to a 2.3.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.