Syndie newsmags hit Nielsen highs

'ET,' 'Extra' hit seasonal bests, Must-See skeins gain

The new year rang in boffo numbers for access shows in syndication, according to the latest Nielsen report for the week of Jan. 3-9, as off-net shows and newsmags hit season highs in a nearly flawless sweep.

Cold winds kept auds at home at night, resulting in four of the five major newsmags nailing their top draws of the season. Leading the pack was Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight,” which scored its biggest margin of victory in 11 years. “ET” hit the 7.0 mark for the first time this season with a 9% increase and defeated its nearest rival by almost three ratings points.

Veteran trifecta

Runner-up “Extra,” from Warner Bros., also pinned down its best score in ’99-’00, up 2% to a 4.1. King World’s “Inside Edition” completed the season-high hat trick for the veterans with a 3.3, a rise of 6%.

Fellow veteran “Access Hollywood,” on the other hand, was unable to keep pace after hitting its own best numbers of the year last week. The show dipped a slight 4% to a 2.5 this time around for Warner Bros.

Rookie “National Enquirer” was unchanged from the previous week with a flat 2.0 rating, but matching its all-time high.

Among off-net sitcoms, the Must See TV veterans all nailed double-digit increases for the week, with Warner Bros.’ “Friends” and Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” tied at 6.7. “Friends” was up 18% while former Thursday night mate “Seinfeld” jumped 24%. In third place was Paramount’s “Frasier” with a 12% climb to a season high 5.7.

‘Carey,’ ‘Sun’ climb

Among freshmen, the season’s top two series, “The Drew Carey Show” and “3rd Rock From the Sun,” found themselves at an all-time high as Warners’ “Carey” rose 15% to a 4.5 and Carsey-Werner’s “Rock” soared 16% to a 3.7.

Daytime shows, on the other hand, fell back to Earth as school and work vacations ended. Only one talkshow found any gains: Paramount’s “The Montel Williams Show” dodged the bullet with a 6% gain, equaling its best rating of the season and finishing third in the talkshow race.

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