Memorial Day, Bush press conference contribute to drop

As typically happens after the May sweep, ratings have come down for the majority of syndicated shows.

Memorial Day, combined with President Bush’s Tuesday press conference on a new Iraqi government and coverage of the French Open on NBC on Friday, contributed to lower ratings for all but a handful of programs.

One of the few strips that did not decline, “Blind Date” had its highest ratings in 14 weeks, up 7% to a 1.6. It was the No. 1 dating show for the 10th week in a row.

“Elimidate” was down 8% to a 1.2. Of the six dating shows in syndication at the start of last season, these are the only two that will make it into next fall.

Elsewhere, among the mags, for the first time this season “Extra,” which has been the No. 4 mag all season long, tied “Access Hollywood” for third place, despite being down 4% to a 2.4. “Access Hollywood” dropped 11% to 2.4, a new season low.

“ET” was No. 1 at 4.5, down 4%. “Inside Edition” came in second at 3.2, down 3%.

Languishing laffers

Among the off-net sitcoms, only one of the top five was up. “Seinfeld” rose 2% to a 5.8 while “Friends” fell 4% to 5.1. “Everybody Loves Raymond” sank 4% to a 5.0, “That ’70s Show” and “Will & Grace” were each down 9% to 3.2.

Among the top five gameshows, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” both hit a new low. “Wheel” deflated 7% to 7.5; “Jeopardy” was down 10% to 6.1. “Millionaire” dropped 6% to 3.4.

“Family Feud” rose 5% to 2.1. “Hollywood Squares,” which is not coming back next season, was down 15% to a new season low of 1.7.

In the battle of the weekly movie reviews, long-running “Ebert & Roeper” was trumped by “Hot Ticket” for the third time this season. The latter show was up 6% to 1.7, while “Ebert & Roeper” was down 6% to 1.6.

Compared to last year, “Hot Ticket” is even, “Ebert & Roeper” is down 16%.

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