Talkers, mag ratings jump

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Many of the first-run syndicated shows got off to a good start in their season-premiere week despite decreased viewership levels for TV in general.

PUT (people using television) levels were off by 3.3 million viewers during the week ending Sept. 17 from the previous week thanks to such factors as kids going back to school and the lack of a holiday (Labor Day).

Among the talkers, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" got off to a solid start with her 22nd-season premiere, jumping 29% from the previous week to a 5.8 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Other talkers improving by double-digit percentages included "Dr. Phil" (4.5, up 18%) and "Live With Regis and Kelly" (3.2, up 10%).

Meanwhile, the new daytime talker "The Steve Wilkos Show" averaged a 0.9. Unlike most of the other talkers, "Wilkos" has almost no double runs, which generally boost a show's overall rating. The same goes for "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet," which made its debut in national syndication with a 0.8 after an eight-month limited run.

Also seeing increases were the top three magazine strips: "Entertainment Tonight" (4.3, up 8%), "Inside Edition" (3.1, up 7%) and "The Insider" (2.3, up 10%). Newcomer "TMZ's" ratings are being reprocessed by Nielsen, as are those for the new game show "Temptation" and new off-net offerings "Two and a Half Men" and "George Lopez."

Among the court shows, "Judge Judy" (4.4, flat) led the pack as usual. Newcomer "Judge David Young" posted a 0.8 in its debut week.

Top game shows "Wheel of Fortune" (6.4) and "Jeopardy!" (5.4) both were up 2%. Rookie "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" garnered a 0.8 in its first week.

Among off-net comedies, top-rated "Everybody Loves Raymond" (3.8) was down 2%. In its first week in broadcast syndication, "Family Guy" came in second in the genre with a 3.5.
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