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Syndie Mags, Talkers Start Strong

In the first full week of the sweeps, magazines and talk shows continued to perform well, while the game show category exhibited some signs of year-to-year erosion, even as the top-three shows in the genre hit season highs.

During the week ended Nov. 13, magazines showed no signs of cooling, led by Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight.

The program reached a season high 5.5 in the Nielsen national barter rankings. That was its best number since March 7, up 4% over the previous week’s season-high mark and even with a year ago.

ET was helped by an interview with Oprah Winfrey celebrating her 20th year of talk. The Nov. 10 segment attracted the show’s highest ratings of the week with a 5.7.

King World’s Inside Edition remained unchanged from a week earlier at 3.6, down 3% from the previous year. Paramount’s The Insider was even at a season high 2.9, but up 4% from a year ago.

NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood also hit a season high of 2.8, up 8% for the week and 4% for the year.

Helped by increased daytime viewing on Veteran’s Day, talk shows had a good week overall. Leader Oprah hit a season high 8.0, up 10% from a week earlier but down 7% from a year ago.

King World’s Dr. Phil was up 4% to a 5.5, but slipped 2% compared to last year, while Buena Vista Television’s Live with Regis & Kelly remained at a season high 3.6, even with the previous year.

NBCU’s Maury was up 7% to a new season high of 2.9, a 4% jump over last year, while Ellen hit a 2.4, matching her season high mark and up 4% for the week and 20% for the year.

BVT’s Tony Danza hit a new season high 1.2, helped by a Who’s the Boss reunion rating spike Nov. 8. That was up 9% from the previous week and a hopeful sign for a talk show that has been struggling this season, saddled with infomercial lead-ins in two of the top-three markets (Los Angeles and Chicago).

Of the top-three game shows, all hit season highs. King World’s top-rated Wheel of Fortune spun to an 8.7, up 5% for the week and down 9% for the year; the syndicator’s Jeopardy answered with a 6.6, a 5% gain for week but a 21% fall from contestant Ken Jennings appearance a year ago; and BVT’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (3.1) climbed 3% but dropped 9% from the year-ago week.

Of the rookies, Twentieth’s Judge Alex led once again with a 5% leap to 2.1 from 2.0, while NBCU’s Martha was up 6% to a 1.8 from 1.7, and, according to NBC Universal, tied its season high in women 25-54 and 18-49.

Telepictures’ Tyra Banks show averaged a 1.6, up 7% for the week. It got its best marks yet, leading the trio of rookies in all key women demos with high double-digit increases.