“Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” leaped ahead of “Donahue” and “Sally Jessy Raphael” to turn in the second-best performance among syndicated talkshows during the February sweeps, according to a just-released Petry Television analysis of the Nielsen numbers.
King World’s powerhouse “Oprah Winfrey” continued to dominate the chat pack, while Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” and Columbia’s “Ricki Lake” were among those talkers showing the most promise.
Talkers were generally the least impacted shows from the two weeks of Winter Olympics coverage during the February sweeps, with access and late fringe dayparts feeling the most heat.
In the access hour leading into primetime, Paramount’s newsmag leader “Entertainment Tonight” showed a good deal of muscle during the sweeps. It jumped to a 9.7 rating/16 share from a 9.4/16 the previous February and performed relatively strongly among all demo groups.
The Par companion newsmag “Hard Copy” averaged an overall 7.0/16, with a hefty 9.5/16 in access (which accounts for about 43% of its clearances) and a 6. 9/17 in early fringe (33%).
“Copy” was up 1.1/2 over February ’93, with its strongest areas of growth coming with women 25-54, as well as men and women over age 50.
KW’s “Inside Edition,” which has clearances in access, early and late fringe, pulled a 6.9/20 overall. It took a hit in access, declining to a 10.0 from the previous year’s 10.4 rating and losing ground in key demos.
It finished up a tick in early fringe, climbing to an 8.0/22, but experienced demo erosion in the younger and mid-range demo groups. Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” grabbed a 6.0/15 overall and an 8.9/16 in access, where it has half its clearances. Its performance in the daypart represented a slight improvement over the previous year’s mark of 8.8/15.
The tabmag slipped in most key demos, the biggest loss (a half point) coming in men 25-54. The biggest increase — nearly a full point — came in women 50 -plus.
KW’s frosh newsmag “American Journal,” which has most of its clearances pretty evenly divided between early fringe, access and late fringe, averaged 4.5 /13 overall.
Compared to the previous February, “Journal” suffered major ratings and demographic erosion in all key dayparts — although stations may want to take a look at the Olympic-less May books before making any firm decisions about its future.
Among the talkshows, “Oprah” continued to rule the roost despite falling slightly to an 11.7/32 from its year-ago mark of 12.1/33 in early fringe (where the show is cleared in all but four markets).
While gaining slightly in older women, the newly re-signed “Oprah” lost half a point with the highly coveted 18-34 group.
Buena Vista TV’s “Live” enjoyed a strong book, moving ahead of the perennial second-place finishers: Multimedia’s “Donahue” and “Sally Jessy Raphael.”
Most of “Live’s” clearances are in daytime while the other two shows are spread more evenly between daytime and the more hotly contested early fringe time periods.
“Live” finished with a 5.9/25 for both its overall and daytime household standing. Its daytime ratings rose slightly, with the biggest increase — a half point gain — coming among women in the 50-plus group.
“Donahue,” which was once a strong second to “Oprah,” collected a 5.6/17 in early fringe for a 1.3/5 loss from the previous year. In daytime, the program reaped a 4.6/20, off from last February’s 5.2/22. The program suffered severe demographic erosion in the two dayparts, falling 1.4 points among women 18-34 and 1.2 points with the 25-54 group in early fringe.
The story was similar in daytime, with the show losing about a point with women 18-34 and 0.7 with the 25-54 group. It scored best with the over-50 crowd.
“Sally” dropped to 5.0/20 in daytime from a 5.4/22 the previous year. It fell a few notches among women 18-34 and nearly half a point in the 25-54 bracket.
And in early fringe, the show dropped to 5.5/17 from 5.9/19, falling 0.6 with women 18-34 and a few tenths with older women.
Par’s “Maury Povich” (5.1/19 overall) captured a 4.9/19 in the 51% of the country where it is cleared in daytime. That was up half a rating point and 2 shares from the previous February, with slightly fewer young women and many more in the 50-plus group now watching (the show jumped a full 1.2 points in the older female category).
In early fringe, where “Povich” airs in 36% of the country, it captured a 5.4 /18. It decreased slightly from the previous year because of mild losses in women 18-34 and 25-54, but saw a small gain in the 50-plus audience.
Tribune’s “Geraldo” ended the sweeps with a 4.1/15, which translated into a 4 .0/15 in daytime (even with a year ago) and a 4.8/16 in early fringe (down from a 5.3/19 the previous February).
The talker’s early fringe ratings performance may have been impacted by the Winter Olympics on CBS, which has many affiliates that clear the talkshow in the daypart.
WB, which has spent the past year successfully upgrading “Jenny Jones” in a number of markets, earned a healthy 3.5/12.
Its daytime average of 3.5/11 was up substantially from a 2.9/10 the previous year, with the show climbing substantially in all key women demos. The biggest year-to-year rise (1.1 points) came in the 18-34 group. Viacom’s “Montel Williams” earned a 3.4/12 overall and a 2.9/11 in daytime, where two-thirds of the stations air it. The daytime performance was up a few notches from a year ago. The show — recently absorbed into the Par TV group that also distributes “Maury”– gained in the key demos, with the biggest year-to-year increase coming in women 18-34 (up 0.6 points).
In the roughly third of the country where the talker airs in early fringe, “Montel” collected a 5.2/17, up a bit from a year ago (largely due to a nearly full point in younger women).
Group W’s “Vicki!” captured a 3.4/16 — flat with a year ago — for both its overall and daytime ratings. Daytime constitutes three-fourths of the station lineup for the show, which slipped a few notches in the daypart with women 18-34 . It also experienced a slight decline with women 25-54.
Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer” averaged a 2.6/13. In daytime, where it has most of its clearances, “Springer” grabbed a 3.2/12, about on par with its year-ago average, but it was off a few tenths in women 18-34 and 25-54.
Columbia scored the biggest success in the frosh chat pack, with newcomer “Ricki Lake” talking up a 3.0/10 in daytime (where it airs in about 61% of the U.S.) and a 4.3/11 in early fringe (airing in more than 39% of the country).
The daytime numbers represent an improvement of 0.7/2 over the time period average a year earlier and 0.7/1 from last November. It also showed broad demographic appeal. The women 18-34 numbers skyrocketed 164% to 3.7 from 1.4 in February ’93 while the 25-54 group leaped 83% to 2.2.
“Ricki’s” early fringe performance was also impressive. The program jumped to 4.3/11 from its year-ago mark of 3.6/11, but the real story came in women 18-34. The show more than doubled stations’ performance in that category as it rose to a 5.5 from a 2.7, while boosting the 25-54 audience by 57% to 3.3. Twentieth TV’s freshman series “Bertice Berry” earned an overall 2.4/11 and a 2.6/10 in daytime, where it is primarily cleared. That’s an improvement from the 2.3/10 it received in November, but down 0.7/4 from the time average a year ago — with slight demographic erosion in the 18-34 and 25-54 categories.
KW’s “Rolonda” did not fare much better than the show it replaced,”Les Brown, “in its first sweeps book. With a majority of its clearances in daytime, the program averaged a 2.8/11 in the daypart and a 2.9/12 overall.
It slid 44% in daytime to a 2.8/11 from a 5.0/20 in February ’93, with the biggest loss in women 18-34 (which dropped 47% to 1.6 from 3.0 a year ago).
Tribune’s recently introduced Joan Rivers series “Can We Shop?” finished with a 0.7/4. In daytime, where the talk/home shopping show is primarily cleared, it rang up a meager 0.6/3 — off nearly a full rating point and 4 shares from the year-ago average and marked down substantially in every key demo group.
The question now becomes whether stations can afford to keep the show on the air with low ratings. Trib is reporting that sales receipts for the program, which has stations sharing the proceeds, are meeting expectations.
In Olympic-impacted latenight hours, meanwhile, Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” remained flat with a 2.3/19 in the daypart.
The program lost a small portion of its men 18-34 audience, but held relatively even with the 25-54 group. Younger women abandoned “Rush” the most heavily during the book with the program dropping to 0.6 from 1.1, while 50-plus viewership continued to grow.
Par will have to deal with a mishmash of conflicting numbers for “Arsenio Hall” as it prepares to go out into the market for renewals.
The talker scored a 2.1/10 in the daypart, down from a year ago.
Coming Thursday: the remainder of the syndie strips and weekly series.