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New syndie talkshows struggling

Hosts Cunningham, Kyle off to slow ratings starts

It looks like NBCUniversal’s trio of conflict-talkers — “Maury,” “Jerry Springer” and “Steve Wilkos” — has nothing to worry about; new syndicated fall entries in the category, Tribune’s “Bill Cunningham” and Debmar-Mercury’s “Jeremy Kyle,” have a ways to go to challenge the trio, based on early ratings returns.

Airing in 22 markets, “Cunningham” has averaged a 0.8 household rating/3 share weighted metered market average for all telecasts since its Sept. 19 premiere, according to Nielsen. That’s down 27% from its year-ago time period average and down 33% from its lead-in.

On Tribune’s WPIX New York at 1 p.m., “Cunningham” is averaging a 0.9/3, 40% less than what Warner Bros.’ “Judge Mathis” was doing last October. In Los Angeles at 2 p.m. on Tribune’s KTLA, “Cunningham” (0.7/2) is down 46% from “Maury” a year ago, while on WGN Chicago, where the show performs best (1.3/5), it is down 19% from “Maury.”

Neverthess, Tribune says it is encourage by the early performance.

“In 2007, Steve Wilkos’ start in households was a 0.9, and we believe Cunningham’s start is consistent with that,” says Sean Compton, Tribune Broadcasting’s president of programming. “Each year since then, ‘Wilkos’ has improved one tenth of a ratings point among women 18-49, and now (has) a 1.4 national household rating. What we’re looking for is consistency with the other shows as they trend up and down on any given day.”

“Jeremy Kyle,” cleared in 54 metered markets, is the U.S. version of a popular U.K. talkshow. So far, it has scored a 0.5/2 weighted metered-market average for all telecasts and a 0.5 national household rating since its Sept. 19 premiere.

Thus far, “Kyle” is down 29% from both its lead-in and year-ago time period average.

On Fox’s WWOR New York at 4 p.m., a very competitive time period, “Kyle” is averaging a 0.6/2 — down 14% from the station’s perf last year. The show is down 33% (0.4/1) from Warner Bros.’ now-canceled “Judge Jeanine Pirro” on Fox’s KTTV in Los Angeles at 3 p.m., and down 64% (0.4/1) from a court block that ran in the hour last October on Fox’s WFLD in Chicago at a 1 p.m.

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