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‘Magic’ rates OK first week

NHL, NBA hurt ratings for syndie talker

“The Magic Hour” grappled with interference from hockey and basketball championship games in its first four days on the air last week.

The Monday-Thursday average for Twentieth TV’s syndie latenight startup was a 2.3 household rating and 6 share in Nielsen’s 39 overnight metered markets. Ratings for Friday’s telecast won’t be available until today.

While not spectacular, “Magic’s” four-day numbers are on par with what its stations in the overnight markets were averaging in the timeslot during the past May sweep. “Magic’s” four-day average has come in lower than the premiere week perf of last summer’s syndie newcomers, “The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show” (3.5/9) and “Vibe” (2.8/7). Both of those shows were canceled this year after their rating plummeted.

However, “Magic’s” first-week ratings were affected by the overrun of Fox’s June 9 coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup finals, which delayed the start time of the talker by more than an hour in 13 major East Coast markets. The Fox-produced syndie strip is carried by all 22 Fox O&Os and numerous Fox affils.

Moreover, NBC’s June 10 coverage of the down-to-the-buzzer Game 4 of the NBA Finals provided unusually strong competition in East Coast markets for the fledgling latenight vehicle hosted by NBA great Earvin (Magic) Johnson. “Magic” bowed June 8 with a 3.0/8, slipping the following night to a 2.1/6, then to a 2.1/5 on June 10 before rebounding June 11 to a 2.3/6.

There were other encouraging signs from the June 11 telecast, as “Magic” hit its highest rating yet in Chicago (3.2/9), Dallas (3.8/9), Atlanta (5.7/17) and Salt Lake City (2.5/13). That seg, with guests Kenny G and Christine Lahti, served up less star power than the first three installments, which boasted such names as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Whitney Houston and Harrison Ford.

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