Order in syndies’ court

'Mathis,' 'Hatchett,' 'Joe Brown' see gains

NEW YORK — Courtroom buffs flocked to their TV sets for the Nielsen week ended April 4, driving up the ratings of all seven syndicated TV courtshows.

Compared with the same week a year ago, three shows engineered double-digit gains: Warner Bros.’ “Judge Mathis” ballooned by 35%, Sony Pictures TV’s “Judge Hatchett” shot up by 33% and Paramount’s “Judge Joe Brown” climbed 16%.

Twentieth TV’s “Divorce Court” jumped by 8%, Warner Bros.’ “People’s Court” and Twentieth’s “Texas Justice” rose 5% and Paramount’s “Judge Judy” was up 2%.

‘Blind’ leap

One of the latenight relationship shows, Universal’s “Blind Date,” with a 1.5 rating, showed an unusual 15% gain compared with its year-ago numbers, which may be attributable to the decision by producers to add more East Coast couples to what was previously an L.A.-centric operation.

By contrast, Universal’s “Fifth Wheel” was flat year-to-year, with a 1.1 rating; Warner Bros.’ “Elimidate” fell by 14% to a 1.2 rating, its season low; and Twentieth’s “Extreme Dating” slipped by 9%, to a 1.0 rating.

Among the rookie syndicated five-a-weekers, Warner Bros.’ “Ellen” continued its dominance, growing by 6% to hit a 1.9 rating. Way behind in second place were three series in a dead heat, each with a meager 1.1 average rating: Twentieth’s “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” up 10% from the previous week; King World’s “Living It Up With Ali & Jack,” also up 10%; and Warner Bros.’ “The Sharon Osbourne Show,” flat from the previous week.

For the first time in a month, Nielsen began monitoring King World’s “Martha Stewart Living” after dozens of stations canceled it following her conviction in federal court for lying about an illegal stock transaction. The show averaged only a 0.7 rating on stations representing 62% of the country, a dropoff of 42% from the previous year, when the program reached 92% of U.S. TV homes.

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