Psychic talk shows, dating shows and the top weekly hours all received
Christmas surprises from Nielsen Media Research, seeing their ratings jump
during the week ending Dec. 24.
It's unclear if he saw it coming, but Universal Studios' Crossing Over with John
Edward had the biggest increase of any talk show that week, gaining 18
percent to a 1.3. Tribune Television's rookie psychic talker, Beyond with James Van
Praagh, was up 11 percent to a 1.0. The only other talk show with a
double-digit increase was Warner Bros.' Jenny Jones, which gained 13
percent to a new season high of 1.7.
On the down side, the top three talk shows were down or flat. King World Productions'
Oprah, at No. 1, hit a new season low of 5.0, down 7 percent. King
World's rookie talker, Dr. Phil, was in second place, down 7 percent to a
4.3. And Buena Vista Television's Live with Regis & Kelly was flat at a 3.4 in
The biggest gainer among the rookie shows was Warner Bros.' Celebrity
Justice, which was up 17 percent to a 1.4. All of the other rookies, with the
exception of Van Praagh, were down or flat.
People seemed to be in a romantic mood this holiday season, which gave dating
shows a boost. Telepictures' Blind Date was up 27 percent to a
season-high 1.9. Warner Bros.' Elimidate was up 12 percent to a 1.9,
tying Blind Date. Telepictures' Fifth Wheel was up 14 percent to a
season high 1.6, Warner Bros.' Change of Heart was up 8 percent to a
season-high 1.3 and Sony's Shipmates was up 13 percent to a 0.9.
On the other hand, viewers were apparently less interested in TV games, with
the top four game shows dropping. King World's Wheel of Fortune was down
6 percent to an 8.9, while King World's Jeopardy! was down 5 percent to a
7.2. Buena Vista's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was down 3 percent to a
3.0 and King World's Hollywood Squares was down 15 percent to a 2.2.
The top four weekly hours were all higher than the previous week. Paramount's
Entertainment Tonight Weekend firmly regained its crown, leading the
weekly hours for the 53rd time in the last 54 weeks, up 9 percent to
a 3.8. ET Weekend dropped out of first place for the first time in
November when it was pre-empted in top markets by college football.
In second place, Twentieth's The Practice was up 4 percent to a 2.6.
Warner Bros.' ER and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc./NBC's Stargate SG-1 were each up 14
percent to a 2.5.
In the off-net sitcoms, Sony's Seinfeld beat Warner Bros.'
Friends for the top spot among off-nets for the third time in the last
four weeks, although both were down week-to-week. Seinfeld was down 3
percent to a 7.3, while Friends was down 5 percent to a 6.9. Compared to
last year at this time, Seinfeld is up 12 percent and Friends is
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