Ephriam ankles ‘Court’

Twentieth clears syndicated strip for eighth season

After seven years of pounding the gavel on Twentieth TV’s “Divorce Court,” Mablean Ephriam has handed over her judicial robes to Lynn Toler, a retired judge.

Twentieth has cleared the syndicated strip for an eighth season beginning in September. Bob Cook, Twentieth’s president and chief operating officer, complimented Ephriam’s “dedication” and “wonderful work.”

Distributor gave no reason for the switcheroo, but the ratings of “Divorce Court” fell 13% in both women 18-49 and women 25-54 this season through the end of February. In households, the show was down by 4%, but most courtshows — “People’s Court” is an exception — are showing signs of erosion in 2005-06. “Divorce Court” still racks up a solid 2.6 household rating season to date.

Toler is no stranger to five-a-week gavelers distributed by Twentieth. In 2001, she presided over Twentieth’s “Power of Attorney.” Her career in the law reached its peak from 1994-2001, when she served as administrative judge on the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court in Ohio.