‘Real TV’ rockets in syndie ratings

Rest of offerings make lackluster showings

HOLLYWOOD — “Real TV” hit a real sophomore-season milestone in the week ended March 15. Paramount’s syndie vid-clip strip scored an all-time high 4.2 national Nielsen household rating during what was otherwise a lackluster post-February sweep week for most syndie strips.

“Real TV’s” 4.2 marked a 5% increase from the previous week and a 24% hike over its showing this time last year. The half-hour reality strip, carried in access and early fringe timeslots in most markets, has posted triple-digit growth since it bowed in September 1996 at a 2.1. What’s more, “Real TV’s” new ratings high was set in a week when it was preempted or delayed two days or more in at least 11 top markets for CBS’ coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament, although basketball lead-ins or lead-outs surely boosted its numbers in many markets.

Elsewhere among reality and magazine shows, Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” was flat for the week with a 4.8. “Judge Judy” has posted more spectacular year-to-year growth in its second season than “Real TV” — even notching head-to-head wins against “Oprah Winfrey” in Gotham recently — but “Real TV” has the edge over the feisty judge in the demographic derby. For the week, “Real TV” posted a 2.2 in both adults 18-49 and adults 18-34, compared to “Judge Judy’s” 1.9 and 1.5, respectively.

Hoops hurt ‘ET’

Among the access magazine shows, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” — also hit with basketball preemptions on many CBS affils — fell 7% from week-to-week to a 5.7. King World’s “Inside Edition” inched up 2% to a 4.4, tying with Warner Bros.’ “Extra,” which was up 5% week-to-week. Par’s “Hard Copy” was down 11% to a 3.1, while NBC/Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” was unchanged at a 2.6.

Among the freshman firstrun strips, Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court” was buoyant, climbing 11% from the previous week to a 3.1. Eyemark Entertainment’s “Martha Stewart Living” fell 8% to a season-low 2.2, while companion “Gayle King” was off 5% to a 1.9. Worldvision’s “Pictionary” rose 15% week-to-week to a 1.5. Columbia TriStar TV’s “Vibe” slipped 6% to a 1.5, to tie with the now-canceled “Keenen Ivory Wayans Show.”

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” led the daytime yak pack, dipping 1% from week-to-week to a 7.7. USA Networks’ “Jerry Springer” was right behind, easing 3% from the previous week to a 7.6. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” held steady in third place with a 4.7. Par’s “Montel Williams” was off 4% to a 4.5.

‘Jenny,’ ‘Live’ inch up

WB’s “Jenny Jones” rose 5% to a 4.3, while Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” upticked 2% to a 4.1. Col TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” was flat at a 3.9. USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” fell 7% to a 3.7 and Par’s “Maury Povich” was unchanged at a 3.3.

For the week, the major off-network sitcom strips were little changed, as were the syndie weeklies, with the exception of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Baywatch.” After posting sharp declines in recent weeks, Par’s long-running sci-fi syndie jumped 20% over the previous week to a 5.5. Pearson All American’s “Baywatch” was up 14% to a 4.1.

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