Stern works 'Magic' for Fox

The week of the Independence Day holiday was a week to forget for most of syndication, with the notable exception of the fledgling daytime strip “Forgive or Forget.”

Twentieth TV’s “Forgive or Forget” mustered a 15% week-to-week Nielsen increase for the week ended July 5. Daytime TV ratings traditionally hit rock bottom in the week overlapping the July 4th holiday, when most syndie skeins serve up reruns. But last month saw the off-season starts of three new high-profile strips: “Forgive or Forget,” “The Howie Mandel Show” and “The Magic Hour.”

In its fourth week on the air, “Forgive” moved the Nielsen needle to a 1.5 national household rating, from a 1.3 the previous week — a modest hike in numeric terms but an achievement nonetheless for a new show amid low overall viewing levels. “Forgive,” a talk-realty hybrid in which guests own up to past wrongs and then seek forgiveness from the injured party, has now inched up 25% from the 1.2 average of its premiere week.

Tennis aces ‘Howie’

Paramount’s “Howie Mandel” was thrown for a loop in its second week in many markets by NBC’s coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tourney. “Howie,” which dropped 12% from its preem-week average of 1.7, was preempted or delayed on NBC affils in more than a dozen major markets for most of the week.

Twentieth’s struggling latenighter “The Magic Hour” saw its numbers rise on the strength of the July 2 tour-de-force guest shot by the show’s chief critic, Howard Stern. “Magic” rose 20% from the previous week to a 1.8, matching its highest national number to date. “Vibe,” in its waning weeks on the air, was far behind at a 1.2.

Wimbledon preemptions and the distraction of warm-weather activities took its toll on the ratings for the established daytime yakkers. King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” equaled Studios USA’s “Jerry Springer Show” for the first time in 15 weeks as both shows eased a few notches from the previous week to a 6.2.

Among the access magazines, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” paced the race by a wide margin, but even the mighty “ET” was down 4% to a 4.9.

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