‘Oprah’ tops talkers

Queen of daytime reclaims title from 'Springer'

As new syndie shows for the 2000-01 TV season begin to launch, a look back at the 1999-2000 season reveals that “Oprah” has reclaimed the talkshow title.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which was second among syndie talkers to “Jerry Springer Show” during the 1998-99 TV season, earned an average 6.2 national household rating for the 1999-2000 season, according to Nielsen. That’s 2% lower than the previous season, but 2 ratings points higher than the take for “Springer,” which moved down 34% to 4.2 in its first season without fights.

Overall, only a handful of shows posted season-to-season improvement. “Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee,” which was third among yakkers, was one show whose ratings did grow. The show was up 3% from the previous season to 3.6.

“Rosie O’Donnell” and “Maury” tied for fourth among talkshows, both at 3.5. “Rosie” was down 3%, while “Maury” was up 13% — the biggest increase of any talker.

“Montel Williams” was next, down 8% to 3.3, followed by “Sally Jessy Raphael,” down 14% to 3.2.

“Ricki Lake” was down 18% to 2.7, followed by “Jenny Jones,” down 23% to 2.4. Daytime lifestyle show “Martha Stewart Living,” down 21% to 1.5.

‘ET’ leads mags

Elsewhere in syndication, “Entertainment Tonight” widened its lead in the magazine field during the season.

“ET” improved by 5% over its 98-99 perf to 6.0, leading “Extra,” which was down 8% to 3.4. “Inside Edition” was next, down 12% to 2.9, and “Access Hollywood” was even with 2.3.

In court, leader “Judge Judy” continued to grow, moving up 4% to 7.0. Second-place “Judge Joe Brown,” also gained steam, jumping 25% to 4.0. “Joe’s” increase is the largest bump up for any strip.

“People’s Court,” with Jerry Sheindlin presiding, was even with the 2.6 earned during the previous season, when Ed Koch presided. “Judge Mills Lane” moved down 24% to 2.2.

Sitcoms dip

Off-net sitcoms dipped, which is to be expected as repeat cycles age. “Friends,” in its second season in off-net syndication, led the batch at 6.0, down 6%. “Seinfeld” dipped 8% in its fifth season to 5.6, and “Frasier” moved down 4% to 5.1.

Rookies “Drew Carey,” at 4.0, and “3rd Rock From the Sun,” at 3.3, followed.

The game and relationship shows held relatively steady, with “Wheel of Fortune” at the top of the genre as well as at the top of the syndie race overall. “Wheel” was down 4% to 10.6. “Jeopardy,” down 3% to 8.8, followed. Sophomore “Hollywood Squares” improved 5% to 4.2, and soph “Change of Heart” dipped 4% to 2.2.

The weekly hour race was tight, but off-net “X-Files” led at 4.0, despite being off by 22%. Off-net “ER” was down 7% to 3.8, and “Entertainment Tonight Weekend” and “Xena: Warrior Princess” tied at 3.3. “ET” was up 18%, while “Xena” was down 13%.

“Stargate SG-1” grew 14% to 3.2, and was followed by “V.I.P.” and “Baywatch Hawaii,” both at 2.8.

“Back 2 Back Action” led the rookie hours with a 2.5 and was followed by “Beastmaster” and the off-net run of “Profiler,” both at 2.3.

“Divorce Court” led the way among the rookie firstrun strips, with a 3.1. “Judge Mathis” was next, at 2.3, followed by revival gamer “Family Feud,” at 2.2. “Blind Date” earned a 1.8; “National Enquirer” TV earned a 1.7 and “Queen Latifah” earned a 1.2.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to

    'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus

    Kermit, Miss Piggy and co. are coming to Disney Plus. A short-form unscripted series starring the goofy puppets is set to premiere on the forthcoming Disney streaming service in 2020. The news was announced at the Disney Plus D23 Expo event. The announcement came with a brief teaser of Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel [...]

  • Succession HBO

    'Succession' Composer Nicholas Britell on Making Music for the One Percent

    The Roys, the media empire family at the heart of HBO’s “Succession,” are ridiculously rich. They’re manipulative and cruel. They’re also a bit delusional and absurd. When Nicholas Britell conceived the show’s score, he wanted to capture all of that. “I wrote in this almost late-1700s, dark classical zone,” says Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of [...]

  • Ewan McGregor of 'American Pastoral'Variety and

    Ewan McGregor Confirms Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus Series to Shoot Next Year

    Ewan McGregor has confirmed that he will be reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney Plus series centered around the powerful Jedi, after Variety previously reported that he was in talks for the series. At Disney biennial D23 convention in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, McGregor provided more details about the prospective show and [...]

  • Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes. Professional wrestlers

    Listen: Brandi and Cody Rhodes Give Wrestlers’ Perspective to AEW

    Wrestlers and husband and wife duo Brandi and Cody Rhodes bring an inside the ring perspective to their executive roles at the nascent All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Cody Rhodes, executive vice president, and Brandi Rhodes, chief brand officer, spoke on Variety’s “TV Take” podcast with Joe Otterson about their new wrestling league.  AEW will put [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content