‘ET’ powered by McCartney breakup

Skein was the top firstrun weekly hour by a wide margin

Coverage of the breakup of Paul McCartney’s marriage drove the weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight” to its highest ratings in 14 weeks during the week ended May 21, which included the final weekend of the May sweep.

For the full sweep, “ET Weekend” was the top firstrun weekly hour by a wide margin, winning its sixth May in a row with a 3.0 average, dipping 3% from a year earlier but ending on a high note, scoring a 3.2 in the final weekend.

“Access Hollywood Weekend” was in second place with a 1.9 average, up 12% from last year, followed by “Extra Weekend” at a 1.7, unchanged year to year.

Among the weekly half-hour sweep leaders in firstrun, “Wheel of Fortune Weekend” drew a 3.9 average, up 8%, followed by “Ebert & Roeper” at a 2.1, down 5% year to year. “The Insider Weekend,” in third place with a 2.0, was up 11% for the year.

“Inside Edition Weekend” was flat at a 1.8, followed by “The Chris Matthews Show” at a 1.7, down 6%.

Among off-net weekly hour rookies, “24” took the lead at a 2.2, down 12% from its October debut. “Alias” came in at a close second with a 2.1 average, down 16% from its debut, followed by “Da Vinci’s Inquest” at a 1.7, up 21% from its debut. Newcomer “Smallville” also drew a 1.7, unchanged since its September premiere. “Star Trek Enterprise” landed at a 1.4, up 17% from its debut. Also at a 1.4 was “Stargate Atlantis,” down 18% from its debut.

The only veteran off-net weekly hour to top the rookie crop of off-net dramas was “CSI” at a 4.7, down 10% from last year.

The off-net weekly half-hour winner was “Seinfeld Weekend” at a 4.5, down 17%, followed by “Everybody Loves Raymond Weekend” at a 3.5, up 13%. “King of Queens Weekend” at a 2.1 was down 5%. Also down 5% was “That ’70s Show Weekend” at a 2.0.

Sweep results for strips won’t be available until next week. Most Monday-Friday series were little changed in the current week.

Only one strip in all of firstrun syndication, “The Tony Danza Show,” saw a double-digit increase from the week prior. Skein was up 10% from the week to a 1.1, although down 15% from last year. At the other end of the talkshow spectrum, top yakker “Oprah” was flat at a 7.2, down 11% from last year.

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