Three yakkers are already MVPs in metered markets

A correction was made to this article on March 3, 2004.

An early look at syndication’s February sweeps results indicate big gains for the top talkers.

With three days in the frame left to be counted, “Oprah,” “Dr. Phil” and “Ellen” are already MVPs in the metered markets.

According to Nielsen, category leader “Oprah” sat comfortably with a 7.7/18, up 10% from last year. Most everyone kept their appointments with “Dr. Phil,” which netted a 6.2/15, a 9% improvement from last year.

“Ellen,” already first in its freshman class, landed fourth among all gabbers in the metered markets with a 3.0/8. Result tied rookie “Ellen” with veteran “Maury” and behind equally venerable “Oprah,” “Phil” and “Regis and Kelly.” “Ellen” is up 20% from its lead in, with time period average up 36% from last year.

“Live With Regis and Kelly” took in a 4.8/15, a 2% dip from last year’s time period average. Final February sweep results will be available in two weeks.

For the week ending Feb. 22, yakkers “Maury” (3.5) and “Montel Williams (2.9) both registered season highs nationally.

Among the court shows, “Judge Judy” continued to rule, up 2% for the week with a 5.4. Fellow justices “Judge Greg Mathis” and “Judge Hatchett” were most improved from last year’s time period average. With a 2.5, “Mathis” was up 9% for the week, and 14% year to year.

“Hatchett” took in a 5% week to week increase (2.4) and an 11% uptick from last year’s average.

In access, “Wheel of Fortune” was rang in a 9.8, up 2%, followed by “Jeopardy’s ” 7.8, a 7% increase.

Among the magazine shows, Monday night’s Oscar post-mortems all delivered healthy upswings from last year’s results in late March. According to Nielsen’s overnight results, “Entertainment Tonight” brought in a 7.4/12, a 4% increase. “Inside Edition” placed second with a 4.6/10, up 21%. Trailing closely behind were “Access Hollywood” with a 4.4/8 (edging forward 13%) and “Extra” with a 4.0/8 (an 8% improvement.)

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