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National ratings results for the February sweep (Feb. 2-March 1) were broadly lower compared with a year earlier due in part to preemptions caused by the Winter Olympics, which ran Feb. 10-26.

The Olympics had a larger effect on access shows, but the daytime shows were weak as well.

Among the daytime court shows, “Judge Judy” fell 9% from the previous February to a 4.9 average, while “Judge Joe Brown” lost 14% to a 3.2. “The People’s Court,” up 7%, was the only gaveler to improve over last year, to a 3.0. “Divorce Court” was down 10% to a 2.7, and “Judge Mathis” dropped 7% to a 2.5.

Rookie gaveler “Judge Alex” earned a 2.3, up 10% from its September preem.

Top talker “Oprah” sank 15% to a 7.2 average for the sweep. “Dr. Phil” fell 8% to a 5.5, while “Live With Regis and Kelly” dipped a relatively minor 5% to a 3.6. “Maury” was down 9% to a 3.0.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” up 8% to a 2.6, was the only veteran talker to improve over last year.

“Montel Williams” saw the biggest year-to-year erosion, falling 19% to a 2.1, tying with “Jerry Springer,” which was down 9%. “The Tony Danza Show,” which in addition to the Olympics was handicapped by low-rated infomercial lead-ins in a few key markets, dipped 8% to a 1.2.

Rookie talker “The Tyra Banks Show” was the top-rated newcomer of any type in firstrun for both women 18-34 and women 18-49. Skein scored a 1.8 household rating, up 64% from its September debut. Rival rookie “The Martha Stewart Show” averaged a 1.7, down 15% from her September debut.

In access, the big three gameshows all struggled against Olympic competition. “Wheel of Fortune” was down 10% to a 8.9, “Jeopardy” down 13% to a 7.2. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was off 11% to a 3.3.

Magazine shows proved the strongest genre in year-to-year comparisons despite the fact that the February 2005 magazine ratings got a boost from coverage of the Academy Awards, while this year the Oscars fell outside the sweep.

Top-rated “Entertainment Tonight,” averaged a 5.5, down 4%. “Inside Edition” was down 3% to a 3.7, while “The Insider” tied its highest ratings for any sweep since its 2004 debut, up 3% to a 3.0. “Access Hollywood” held on well to drop only 7% to a 2.5, and “Extra,” which was blocked out of the averages during the Olympics, was up 4% to a 2.4.

On the other hand, “Geraldo at Large,” which is not yet nationally rated, continued to underperform both its lead-in and year-ago time period, averaging 2.4/5 for its primary runs in 37 metered markets during the sweep. Down 31% from its lead-in (3.5/6) and down 11% from its time period average (2.7/5), skein was also down 8% from what “A Current Affair,” the series it replaced, did in May 2005 (2.6/5). On the positive side, “Geraldo” was up 4% in ratings and up 1 share point from what the show did in the November sweep, which was a 2.3/4.