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West Wing Performs in Syndication

The top four weekly hours all had double-digit rating increases and the top five game shows were up significantly in the week ending Oct. 5 despite an overall decline in broadcast viewing of 120,000 households from the week before.

In only its second week, Warner Bros.’ rookie off-network drama The West Wing
jumped into second place among all weekly hours with an 18% increase to 2.6.

Paramount Domestic Television’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend
 was the No. 1 weekly hour for the 94th time in the past 95 weeks, gaining 10% from the week before to 3.2 and showing a 7% gain over last year at this time.

Tribune Entertainment’s Mutant X
and Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda
tied for third, each gaining 22% to 2.2. Mutant X
was up 5% over last year, while Andromeda
was up 10% year-to-year.

The biggest decline on the weekend from last year among the major shows was The X-Files
, which fell 28% to a 17th-place 1.3. For most of its off-net run, the science-fiction hit has been at or near the top of the ratings among all weekly hours. Last year, in its sixth season, the show tied for No. 4 among weekly hours.

Among the rookie weekly hours other than West Wing
, Paramount’s Unexplained Mysteries
, in its second week, made the top 10 with a 23% leap to 1.6, tying for ninth place. Also at a 1.6 was Sony Pictures Television’s Walker, Texas Ranger
, which gained 7% in its third week, and Twentieth Television’s Angel
, which slipped 7% to 1.4 in its second week.

King World Productions’ Wheel of Fortune
continued its roll as the No. 1 game show, climbing 5% to 9.0 and improving 6% over last year. King World’s Jeopardy!
was up 8% to 6.9, up 1% over last year.

Buena Vista Television’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
gained 3% to 3.2, jumping 39% over year-ago levels for the biggest year-to-year increase of any show in syndication. King World’s Hollywood Squares
was up 5% to 2.3 but down 4% from last year. Rounding out the top five, Tribune’s Family Feud
was up 5% to 2.1 and up 24% from last year.

On the other hand, most relationship shows had lackluster weeks. Universal Television’s Blind Date
led the field with a 1.5 in its premiere week, unchanged week-to-week and year-to-year. Warner Bros.’ elimiDate
was flat at 1.4 but down 7% from last year.

Universal’s The Fifth Wheel
was down 10% to 0.9 for the week and off 31% from last year, but at least part of the drop was due to not being on WGN Superstation during the week. And Twentieth’s Ex-Treme Dating
was unchanged at 0.9, tying Fifth Wheel

Among the rookie strips, Warner Bros.’ The Sharon Osbourne Show
in its third week was down 7% to 1.4, although it remained the No. 1 new first-run strip. In second place, Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show
was unchanged in its fourth week at 1.3.

Buena Vista’s The Wayne Brady Show
was unchanged at 1.0 in its fifth week and tied with King World’s Living It Up! With Ali & Jack
, which was up 11% to 1.0 in its third week. NBC Enterprises’ Starting Over
in its fourth week was unchanged at 0.9.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.