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Talkers and judges rule syndie sweeps

The first full week of the sweeps saw a tale of two genres -- talk and court
-- and the continued strength of rookie Texas Justice.

The week ended May 5 saw Justice reclaim its top spot among rookie
first-run strips with the biggest week-to-week increase of any strip, up 16
percent to a 2.2. And that was in a week when no other strip was up by double-digits.

Relinquishing the top spot after one week at No. 1 was Crossing Over with
John Edward
, down 10 percent to a 1.8 and tied at No. 2 with The Weakest
, which was flat at a 1.8.

Looking at the May sweeps performance, six of the seven veteran syndicated court
shows showed year-to-year increases, while nine of the 10 veteran talkers were
down from last year at this time.

Judge Judy, at a 5.9, was up 4 percent from last year; Divorce Court, at a 2.7, was up 4
percent; and Judge Greg Mathis, at a 2.2, was up 16 percent (although
that is an apples-to-oranges comparison since it was one hour last year and this
year, it's a half-hour). People's Court, at a 2.0, was up 18 percent.

The only downer was Judge Hatchett, off 11 percent to a 1.7.

On the talk side, by contrast, Oprah led talkers at a 5.7, but down 2
percent; Live with Regis and Kelly was down 6 percent; Maury was
the only talker to improve, with a numerologically consistent third-place
showing of a 3.3, up 3 percent. Jerry Springer, at No. 4, saw the most
erosion among talkers, down 26 percent from last year at a 2.5. Rosie
and Montel were tied in fifth with a 2.3. Rosie was down 18
percent and Montel 21 percent.