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Syndie Powers Way to Season's End

Syndication's traditional top dogs generally remained at the head of the pack for the entire 2003-04 syndication season, with powerful performances that held to form for the final week of the season, which ended Aug. 29.

 In access, Paramount's Entertainment Tonight led the mags by a wide margin, averaging a 5.4 for the full season, with a 54% ratings margin over its closest rival, King World's Inside Edition at a 3.5. NBC Universal's Access Hollywood ran third at a 2.8, followed by a 2.5 for Warner Bros.' Extra! Warner Bros.' Celebrity Justice came in last with a 1.2. 
 King World's Wheel of Fortune was the top game at an 8.7, followed by King World's Jeopardy! at a 7.2. Buena Vista's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was in third, averaging a 3.6 in its second season. Millionaire also cracked syndication's top 10 strips at number 10, up from last year's 18th place. Tribune's Family Feud averaged a fourth-place 2.1 and King World's Hollywood Squares ended its run at a 2.0. 
 In the relationship race, NBC Universal's Blind Date was first with a 1.6 average, followed by Warner Bros.' Elimi-date at a 1.4.
Among the off-net sitcoms, Sony's Seinfeld was the winner in a close race with a 5.9. Warner Bros.' Friends averaged a 5.7 and King World's Everybody Loves Raymond a 5.5. Carsey-Werner's That 70s Show held fourth place with a 3.6, followed by Warner Bros.' Will & Grace with a 3.4.
In daytime, King World's Oprah continued to top the talkers with a 6.6. King World's Dr. Phil was a strong second at a 4.9, followed by Buena Vista's Live with Regis & Kelly at a 3.6. NBC Universal's Maury averaged a 3.0 and Paramount's The Montel Williams Show scored a 2.5.
Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show was the number-one rookie of the season, including the last 43 weeks in a row, with a 1.7. The number-two rookie was Warner Bros.' The Sharon Osbourne Show, averaging a 1.2. Osbourne was not renewed.
Paramount's Judge Judy ruled the court shows with a 4.9, while Paramount colleague Judge Joe Brown easily took second with a 3.4. Twentieth's Divorce Court hung on for third with a 2.6, followed by Warner Bros.' People's Court at a 2.3 and Warner Bros.' Judge Greg Mathis at a 2.2.
Paramount's ET Weekend swept the season's weekly hour race with a 3.4. MGM's Stargate SG-1 tied Warner Bros.' rookie West Wing for second with a 2.1.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.