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Syndie ratings cruise at summer speed

Most syndicated series took a summer breather for the week ending Aug. 5.

Many efforts just slightly edged up or and down from where they were the previous ratings period. Helped along by such juicy showbiz stories as Mariah Carey's mental breakdown and Ben Affleck's entrance into re-hab, many magazine strips were a little higher. Typically on top, Entertainment Tonight scored a 5.5 Nielsen household rating, up 2% from last week and doing 4% better than this time last year. Trailing ET, were Extra (3.0, up 3% for the week), Inside Edition (2.7, down 7%) and Access Hollywood (2.4, flat). Access Hollywood is 9% stronger than the comparable 2000 period.

One big mover was ET Weekend (3.6, up 13% for the week, up 33% from last year), which popped its best numbers in 6 weeks. Followers included Stargate SG-1 (2.7, flat), E.R. (2.6, down 10%), Andromeda (2.3, down 8%), V.I.P. (2.1, down 9%) and Beastmaster (2.1, up 5%). Sheena (1.3, down 32%) and Thunderbox (0.7, down 46%) hit the steepest skids.

Talk stayed mostly flat from the previous period. Leaders were Oprah (5.6, down 5%) and Live with Regis and Kelly (3.8, down 3%), which was 10% off how the show was doing this time last year - the first week Kathie Lee was officially replaced with rotating guest hosts.

Elsewhere, Friends (4.8, flat) led the sitcoms and Judge Judy (5.3, down 5%) topped the court shows.
- Susanne Ault