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Tragedy, Sex Drive Syndie Mags

Coverage of the death of "Superman" (and "super man") Christopher Reeve, plus the sexual-harassment suit filed against Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, drove the syndicated magazines -- especially Paramount’s EntertainmentTonight -- sharply higher in the week ended Oct. 17. 

 ET had the biggest increase of any show in the genre, up 15% from the prior week to a 5.3, its highest rating of the season.

ET also hit new-season highs in all demos, with jumps of 24% in women 18-49 and 33% in women 18-34.

King World’s Inside Edition was second with a 3.4, up 10%, matching its best rating of the season. Inside Edition also was up 11% among women 25-54. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood was up 8% to a season high 2.6, while Warner Bros.’ Extra! equaled its season high, rallying 10% to a 2.3.

Paramount’s The Insider led all first-run rookies for the fifth week in a row, up 8% to a 2.6, a personal best. That jump also gave Insider a 33% spike in women 18-34 and a 27% increase in women 18-49.

Other rookies showing improvement during the week, which included the Columbus Day holiday, were NBC Universal’s The Jane Pauley Show, which was up 8% to a 1.4 in its seventh week; Warner Bros.’ Larry Elder, which had its best ratings yet, up 13% in week five to a 0.9; and Sony’s Pat Croce, up 17% to a 0.7, equally its series high.

Meanwhile, Buena Vista’s Tony Danza Show held steady at a 1.3, matching its prior-week ratings. NBC Universal’s Home Delivery and Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover each at a 1.0 and Sony’s Life & Style, at a 0.5, all were unchanged.

Elsewhere in daytime, King World’s Dr. Phil, Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly and Paramount’s Montel Williams all set new-season highs.

Dr. Phil earned a 5.2, an 8% household increase and gains of 21% in women 18-49 and 29% in women 18-34.

Regis and Kelly was up 10% to a 3.4, jumping 5% among women 18-49 and 15% among women 25-54.

Montel boasted the most growth from the prior week of any veteran, up 14% to a season-best 2.4, and growing 7% among women 18-34 and 18-49 and 20% among women 25-54.

Other talkers equaling their season highs this week were King World’s top-rated Oprah, up 4% to a 7.8. NBC Universal’s Maury was unchanged at a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres Show had the most year-to-year growth of any talker, gaining 43% over last year and up 11% week-to-week to a 2.0.

Paramount’s Judge Judy, the highest-rated court show at a 4.6, was one of three gavelers to hit new season-highs this week, up 10%. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court also set a new ratings mark, gaining 13% to a third place 2.6. Warner Bros.’ Judge Greg Mathis was got fifth place and with a season-best 2.3, up 15%.

Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown, the number-two courtroom in syndication, matched its season high of 3.2, jumping up 7%.

In game show action, King World’s Wheel of Fortune was up 6% to a new season high 9.0, King World’s Jeopardy! (with Ken Jennings) scored a season best 8.6, and Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire recorded its strongest ratings of the season, up 6% to a 3.3.

On the weekend, King World’s rookie off-net CSI slipped 4% to a still-impressive 5.0. Off-net rookie strips were led by Twentieth’s Malcolm in the Middle, which was down 7% to a 2.7 in its fifth week, though the distributor pointed to some baseball playoff preemptions to help explain the downturn. NBC Universal’s Fear Factor, in week four, gained 13% to a second-place 1.8, its best ratings yet.