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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.