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Syndie yakkers on the rise

Dr. Phil ties ratings high as Winfrey winds down

The Thanksgiving week was a mixed blessing for syndication, as daytime yakkers thrived while access shows suffered from competition with turkey and stuffing.

“Dr. Phil” rose 7% to 5.9, tying its highest weekly national rating ever, though it should be noted that its Thursday and Friday episodes were not included in the weekly average because of Thanksgiving preemptions. By contrast, “Oprah Winfrey” had its Thursday episode included (but not Friday) and plunged 12% to a season low of 7.1.

Among frosh strips, four hit new series highs: “The Insider” (up one-tenth to 2.9), “Tony Danza” (up 15% to 1.5), “Ambush Makeover” (up 20% to 1.2), and “Pat Croce” (up a tick to 0.8).

Rookie skeins “Jane Pauley” (1.5), “Larry Elder” (0.9) and “Life & Style” (0.5) were all unchanged.

As an example of Thanksgiving’s power, “Jeopardy,” which was not preempted, dipped 4% to 7.2 despite having three episodes featuring long-running champ Ken Jennings, compared with zero episodes the previous week. “Wheel of Fortune,” also not preempted, fell 10% to 8.2. The top three off-net strips (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends”) all declined, as did the top two newsmags (“Entertainment Tonight” and “Inside Edition”).

By contrast, five vet talkshows hit new season highs — “Maury” (up 3% to 3.0), “Ellen” (up 10% to 2.2), “Jerry Springer” (up 5% to 2.1), “Starting Over” (up 9% to 1.2) and “Good Day Live” (up 25% to 1.0). Only the last in that list had its Thanksgiving Day episode included in the weekly total.

The week included the final weekend of November sweeps. Among firstrun weekly shows, “Entertainment Tonight” weekend won with a 3.4 (up 26% from October), followed by “Stargate SG-1” (2.0, up 11%), “Access Hollywood” weekend (1.9, up 19%) and “Extra” weekend (1.7, up 13%). Among off-nets, “CSI” came in first with a 5.6, up 10% from October, followed by “West Wing” (unchanged at 1.9), “The Practice” (up 13% to 1.8) and “ER” (unchanged at 1.7).

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