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Syndie Shows Hold Their Own

For the second full week of the February sweeps, most syndicated shows held onto gains they made in the first.

That was despite HUT (homes using television) levels down 743,000, or about 2%, from the week before, according to Nielsen. In addition, coverage of President Bush's Feb. 17 daytime press conference caused preemptions in some markets.

Entertainment Tonight reached a milestone, leading a relatively solid magazine category for the 450th consecutive week. ET, which last lost a week back in July 1996, averaged a 5.6, unchanged from the prior week in households.

Elsewhere on the syndicated magazine rack, Inside Edition was down 3% to a 3.7; The Insider, which has been the highest rated rookie for the past 23 weeks, was even with the week before at a 2.8 for third place, followed by Access Hollywood, up 4% to a 2.7; Extra, down 4% to a 2.2; and Celebrity Justice, up 9% to a 1.2.

Also in access, Wheel of Fortune's fortunes were unchanged atop the game shows with a 9.7, while sibling Jeopardy in the second week of its "Tournament of Champions," was down 2% to an 8.0.

Off-net sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond was even with the prior week at a 7.5, followed by Seinfeld at a 6.2, down 3%.

Among the rookies, after Insider came Jane Pauley, down 12% to a 1.5. Tony Danza, which like Insider has been renewed for year two, was unchanged at a 1.3. Ambush Makeover was down 9% to a 1.0. Larry Elder was down 18% to a 0.9. Pat Croce was up 17% to a .7 and Life & Style was up 20% to a .6.

Oprah led the talkers as usual with an 8.2, down 2%. Dr. Phil, which was flat at a 5.6, was in the familiar number-two slot. Live with Regis & Kelly was down 3% to a 3.6. Maury was in fourth, also down 3% to a 3.2 Montel was down 7% to a 2.5. Ellen was unchanged at a 2.3. Jerry Springer was unchanged at a 2.2. Starting Over was down 8% to a  a 1.2. Good Day Live, which was canceled last week, fell 10% to a .9, down 18% from last year at this time.

In the court order, Judge Judy dipped 2% to a 5.3, followed Judge Joe Brown, off 3% to a 3.6.

Malcolm in the Middle topped off net rookies with a 3.5, down 3%. Yes, Dear was up 5% to a 2.0, while Fear Factor and Girlfriends were unchanged at a 1.8, and 1.6, respectively.

In weekly action, Rookie CSI took the off-net honors with a 6.0, up 9%. ET weekend led the first-run weekly hours with a 3.8, also up 9%.

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.