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Syndies take spring hit

For the week ended May 4, which included the first full week of the May
sweep, the vast majority of shows lost ground as the warm spring weather sent
many viewers outdoors.

PUT (people using television) levels declined an average 10 percent from the
prior week.

The lower PUT levels were enough to overcome the positive of the first full week of
the sweep, with its stunts and special editions, and of the slackening cable-network competition, down to levels not seen since before the Iraq war began.

Bucking the downtrend, however, were the weekly movie-review shows, which
were up strongly for a second straight week, coinciding with the spring planting
season for new theatrical releases and arguably sending even more viewers from
the small set to the big screen.

Ebert & Roeper was up 11 percent to a 2.1, which put it up 24 percent
over the previous two weeks, although it was down 13 percent from last year at the same

Hot Ticket was the only show in syndication to hit a new season high for
the week, up 18 percent to a 2.0, 43 percent over the past two weeks, and up 33
percent year-to-year.

Elsewhere, Seinfeld was the top off-network sitcom and the only off-net in
the top 10 to gain over the week before, up 5 percent to a 6.6. That put it up
12 percent over last year.

Friends was still in high places, but down 3 percent to a 6.4 for second
place, followed by Everybody Loves Raymond, down 8 percent to a 5.9.

Two sitcoms hit new season lows: The Drew Carey Show was down 10
percent to a 1.8, good for 10th place, while rookie The Hughleys was
down 14 percent to a 1.2.

In daytime, Oprah was one of only two talk shows in the top 10 to gain
ground (Montel was the other).

Oprah led all talkers with a 6.0, up 2 percent for the week and up 5
percent year-to-year.

Montel was up 4 percent to a 2.5, good for fifth place.

On the down side, rookie Dr. Phil slipped 2 percent to a 4.7. Live
with Regis & Kelly
took a 12 percent hit to a 3.6 in co-host Kelly Ripa's second week
after a two-month maternity leave. Maury fell 13 percent to a 2.8.

Also in daytime, none of the seven court shows was up. 

Judge Judy led the field, unchanged at a 4.8 but down 19 percent from
last year, the biggest year-to-year drop of any court show.

Judge Joe Brown was down 6 percent to a 3.2.

Divorce Court was down 3 percent to a 2.8.

Texas Justice was unchanged at a 2.2.

People's Court was off 5 percent to a 2.1.

Judge Greg Mathis was unchanged at a 1.9.

And Judge Hatchett slipped 6 percent to a 1.6.