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Talkers Start Strong in Sweeps

The first full week of the February sweep was a good time to be Starting Over.

In the week ending Feb. 13, the reality talker was the only strip in syndication to hit a new series or season high, with a personal best 1.3. The sophomore show was up 18% to its best-ever rating and up 30% over last year.

Starting Over also earned its best Women 25-54 rating, up 20% to a 1.2 in the demo.

All top five talkers were higher, but only one scored a double-digit boost: Montel Williams, up 13% to a 2.7 and up 8% from last year. Montel was also up 13% in women 25-54 to a 1.8 in the demo.

Oprah led the genre as usual, up 9% to an 8.4 and up 5% year-to-year. Dr. Phil was up 2% to a 5.6, but down 2% from last year.

In third, Live with Regis and Kelly was up 3% to a 3.7 but off 8% from last year. Maury was up 6% to a 3.3 and up 6% from last year.

In access, three of the top five news magazine were up. ET, the top show, gained 6% to a 5.6, and was up 20% in women 18-34 to a 2.4. Inside Edition was unchanged at a 3.8. Rookie, The Insider, already renewed for year two, was the third-highest, up 6% to a 2.8 and up 17% in women 18-49 to a 1.4. Access Hollywood, at a 2.6, was fourth, down 4%, followed by Extra, Up 5% to a 2.3.

Game shows were also mixed. Wheel of Fortune was down a hair (1%) to a 9.7; Jeopardy was up 4% to an 8.2, and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire was up 6% to a 3.8.

Elsehwere in first run. Judge Judy was up 4% to a 5.4 and up 11% in women 18-34 to a 2.1 to lead the court shows. Judge Joe Brown was unchanged at a 3.7 in second. Divorce Court was up 4% to a  2.9. People's Court was up 8% to a 2.8, and Greg Mathis was up 4% to a 2.6.

Among first-run rookies, Jane Pauley was up 6% to a 1.7 and took second after The Insider. Tony Danza, already renewed for year two, dipped 7% to a 1.3. Ambush Makeover and Larry Elder were both up 10% to a 1.1. Pat Croce was down 14% to a 0.6 and Life & Style was unchanged at a 0.5.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.