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Syndies: Daytime TV benefits from bad weather

Daytime television audiences increased by 6 percent during February's cold
weather, bringing many syndicated shows big boosts during sweeps.

Most of the new first-run game and talk strips showed sharp growth in
February compared with their September debuts.

Buena Vista Television's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, syndication's top new
game show, showed the biggest improvement of any rookie, gaining 46 percent over
its debut to a 3.5 average household rating during the sweep.

This season's other new game show, Sony Pictures Television's Pyramid, was up 18 percent
to a 2.0.

The biggest gainer among rookie daytime talkers was King World Productions' Dr.
, up 25 percent to a 5.5.

NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show was up 36 percent to a 1.5.

Among the established talk shows, only the top three were up over last year.

King World's Oprah was up 16 percent to a 6.7. Buena Vista's Live
with Regis and Kelly
was up 8 percent to a 4.2.

And Universal Television's Maury was up 6 percent to a 3.6. Paramount Television's Montel
was flat at a 2.8.

Universal's Jerry Springer was down 7 percent to a 2.7. Sony's
Ricki Lake and Warner Bros.' Jenny Jones each were down 5 percent
to 1.8.

Ratings among the court shows were mixed, with Paramount's Judge Judy,
the genre leader, down 5 percent from last year to a 5.6.

Paramount's other top court show, Judge Joe Brown, was up 3 percent to

Twentieth Television's Divorce Court was up 10 percent to a 3.2 and Twentieth's
Texas Justice was up 19 percent to a 2.5.

Warner Bros.' People's Court was up 10 percent to a 2.3.

And Warner Bros.' Judge Greg Mathis was not offered in an hour-long
format this season, but it was up 29 percent over its season-to-date average to a

Sony's Judge Hatchett was down 10 percent to a 1.8.

The additional TV viewers were not so apparent since access is always
a popular time to watch television. However, all four magazines showed solid
growth over last year.

Paramount's Entertainment Tonight marked a milestone, with 50 sweeps
in a row as the No. 1 magazine.

The last time ET lost a sweep was almost 13 years ago, to Twentieth's
A Current Affair.

ET was up 6 percent to a 6.6. King World's Inside Edition was up
12 percent to a 3.7 average.

NBC Enterprises' Access Hollywood was up 7 percent to a 3.0, the
show's best sweep since February 1997.

Warner Bros.' Extra was up 7 percent to a 2.9.

In game shows, King World's Wheel of Fortune was up 2 percent to a
10.3, while its Jeopardy! was down 6 percent to a 8.0.

Newcomer Millionaire's 3.5 gave it the No. 3 slot.

King World's Hollywood Squares was up 4 percent to a 2.9, while
Tribune Broadcasting's Family Feud was down 17 percent to a 1.9.

Also at a 1.9 was Universal's top dating-game show, Blind Date,
unchanged at a 1.9.

That show was followed by Warner Bros.' Elimidate and NBC's
just-canceled The Weakest Link, each with a 1.8.

Elimidate was up 13 percent from last year, while Weakest Link was
up 6 percent.

Universal's Fifth Wheel was flat at a 1.5.

Telepictures' Street Smarts was down 13 percent to a 1.4. Warner

Change of Heart was down 14 percent to a 1.2, and Sony's Shipmates
was down 27 percent to 0.8. Shipmates is not expected to return next

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Friends was just barely on top,
beating Sony's Seinfeld in a photo finish.

Friends, with many broadcast double-runs, was up 3 percent to a 7.7,
while Seinfeld, with more cable runs, was up 13 percent to a 7.6.

King World's Everybody Loves Raymond was up 8 percent to 6.6.

And two off-net rookies came in fourth and fifth: Warner Bros.' Will &
with a 4.3 and Carsey-Werner-Mandabach's That 70s Show with a 3.9.