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Syndies get strong start on sweep

In the first week of the May sweep, syndication ratings were up across all
genres, particularly as viewership returned from cable news networks to regular
patterns now that the war in Iraq is largely over.

The big news among strips was the return of Kelly Ripa after a two-month
maternity leave.

In her first week back, Buena Vista Television's Live with Regis and Kelly
had the biggest weekly increase of any strip in any genre, gaining 28 percent to
4.1, representing a 17 percent improvement over last year.

In all, seven of the 13 talk shows were up, while five were flat and only one

The other talk winners were King World Productions' Oprah, which was up 18
percent to 5.9. Second place went to King World's Dr. Phil, which was up
7 percent to 4.8, and Universal Television's Maury was up 3 percent to 3.2.
Universal's The Jerry Springer Show increased 9 percent to 2.4.

NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show was up 17 percent to 1.4, and
Universal's Crossing Over with John Edward was up 9 percent to 1.2.

The lone talker to decline was Warner Bros.' Jenny Jones, which was
down 11 percent to 1.6.

In access, the top three game shows were all higher.

King World's Wheel of Fortune was up 10 percent to 8.8. King World's
Jeopardy! gained 8 percent to 7.0.

And No. 3 game show, Buena Vista's Who Wants to Be a
, was up 10 percent to 3.2.

In the magazine race, Paramount's Entertainment Tonight opened up the
sweep on top, gaining 6 percent to 5.5. King World's Inside Edition was
up 6 percent to 3.3.

And NBC Enterprises' Access Hollywood was up 8 percent to 2.6 in third

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Friends regained the lead with a
10 percent increase to 6.6, while King World's Everybody Loves Raymond
was also up 10 percent to a 6.4.

That left Sony Pictures Television's Seinfeld in third place for the first time in six
months, unchanged at 6.3.

In court action, every show was even or up from last week except Twentieth Television's
Texas Justice, which slipped 4 percent down to a 2.2.

Paramount's Judge Judy was the top jurist, gaining 7 percent to a 4.8,
but it was down 17 percent year-to-year.

Among the weekend shows, Paramount's ET Weekend opened up a big lead
in the weekly hours race with a 15 percent increase to 3.8, improving 9 percent

In second place, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc./NBC's Stargate SG-1 was up 5 percent to 2.3 but
down 8 percent from last year.

Tribune Television's Mutant X was up 22 percent to 2.2, keeping it flat compared
to last year.

The show tied with Warner Bros. off-net ER, which was down 12 percent
to 2.2 and down 15 percent from last year.

Elsewhere on the weekend, movie-review shows were up sharply. Buena Vista's
half-hour Ebert & Roeper was up 12 percent to 1.9, remaining
even with its year-ago performance.

Paramount's Hot Ticket jumped 21 percent to 1.7, surging 42 percent
over last year.