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Syndie Insider

Off-Nets Have an 'On' Week

All the top off-net sitcoms gained ground in Nielsen ratings for the week ended Oct. 26, after being somewhat soft in the prior week due to Major League Baseball playoffs. But, while they were all up week-to-week, everything except Carsey-Werner's That '70s Show was down from last year.

Sony's Seinfeld took the ratings honors for the first time this season, jumping 14% to 5.8 from the previous week but dropping 11% from last year. Right behind were Warner Bros.' Friends and King World's Everybody Loves Raymond, each averaging 5.7. That put Friends up 6% for the week but down 16% year-to-year and Raymond up 8% and off 7%. Warner Bros.' sophomore Will & Grace was up 3% to 3.7 and down 8% from last year, while fellow sophomore That '70s Show gained 6% to a fifth-place 3.3, up 3% from last year.

Among the new off-net strips, Sony's King of Queens was up 8% to 2.6, Paramount's Becker gained 11% to 2.0, and Paramount's The Parkers soared 27% to 1.4.

No Rookie of the Year So Far

In the closely watched rookie race, Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Sharon Osbourne Show remain deadlocked nationally as the highest-rated new first-run strips for the second week, each with a 1.4s, unchanged from the previous week.

For the first two days of the November sweeps, Oct. 30 and 31, Ellen scored a 2.4 rating/7 share in the metered markets, up 20% from its stations' year-ago time-period average. Sharon earned a 1.4/4 in the metered markets, even with year-ago time slots.

Buena Vista's The Wayne Brady Show was up 22% to a 1.1 nationally and started the sweeps with a 1.8/6, even with its stations' November 2002 time periods.

King World's Living It Up! With Ali & Jack was unchanged nationally at 1.0 and averaged a 1.4/5 at the beginning of the sweeps period, down 30% in its time periods.

NBC Enterprises' Starting Over was down 10% to a 0.9, with a 1.3/4 early-sweeps metered-market average, off 7% from year-ago time periods.