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Syndies get Christmas bonus

Christmas shopping, or the lack thereof, seemed to give the weekly hours a
ratings boost in the week ending Dec. 15, according to an analysis of Nielsen
Media Research's national ratings.

Paramount's Entertainment Tonight Weekend jumped the most, leaping 94 percent from the prior week to
score a 3.5, much closer to its regular average.

ET Weekend had been hurt the week before by
college-football pre-emptions in five of the top 10 markets, so much so that it
was knocked out of the top spot among weekly hours for the first time in one

Compared with last year,
ET Weekend was up 13
percent, Nielsen reported.

Second place was a tie between two Twentieth Television shows: The X-Files and The


Both finished at a 2.5 average, with X-Files up 25
percent from the prior week and Practice up 19

X-Files was down 11 percent and Practice was down 4 percent.

Tying for fourth place were Warner Bros.' ER and Tribune Broadcasting's Stargate
. ER was
unchanged compared with the prior week but down
21 percent from last year.

Stargate was down 8 percent from last week and
down 15 percent year-to-year.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Sony Pictures Television's Seinfeld knocked Warner Bros.'
Friends off its perch with a 7.5 versus Friends
' 7.3.

That's a
season high for Seinfeld, which was up 3
percent week-to-week and 10 percent year-to-year.

Friends was down a mere 1 percent compared with
the prior week and up 4 percent compared with last year.

In third place, King World Productions'
Everybody Loves Raymond was down from the prior week to a 6.2 but up 7 percent from
last year.

The two rookie sitcoms -- Warner Bros.' Will & Grace and
Carsey-Werner-Mandabach's That 70s Show -- were both down 5 percent from last week.

Will & Grace came in fourth with a 4.2 and
That 70s Show fifth with a 3.9.

Although both of the game shows were little changed from
last week, both of the rookie game shows hit new season highs.

Buena Vista Television's Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire
was up 3 percent to a personal best 3.1, remaining in third
place among all game shows.

Sony's Pyramid was up 11 percent to a best-yet
2.0, keeping it in fifth place among the game shows.

The top game shows, King World's Wheel of Fortune and
Jeopardy!, were both unchanged from last week, with Wheel at a 9.5
and Jeopardy! at a 7.6.

Compared with last year at this time, Wheel
is down 2 percent and Jeopardy! is down 12 percent.

In fourth place, King World's Hollywood Squares was unchanged from the prior week at
a 2.6 but down 16 percent from last year.