September 1, 2006

Karr drives ratings higher for TV gossip shows

By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The syndicated
newsmagazines got a ratings bump with their coverage of the
JonBenet Ramsey murder case arrest during the week ending
August 20, according to Nielsen Media ratings data issued

Nearly all of the newsmagazines were up both from the
previous week and from the same period a year ago thanks to the
August 16 arrest of schoolteacher John Mark Karr, a suspect in
the murder of 6-year-old Ramsey nearly a decade ago.

The Boulder (Colo.) County District Attorney's office has
since ruled that DNA evidence shows that Karr, who had
confessed to the murder when he was arrested in Bangkok, could
not have been the killer.

Top-rated newsmagazine "Entertainment Tonight" averaged a
4.4 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That
figure is up 5% from the show's previous weekly rating and up
7% from a year ago. Helping boost the ratings was an interview
with Pam Paugh, the sister of JonBenet's late mother.

"Inside Edition," which featured several exclusive
interviews with people who know Karr, was the biggest
week-to-week gainer in the genre, rising 6% to a 3.3 and also
increasing 10% from a year ago.

"The Insider" (2.5) devoted an entire episode to the
arrest, marking only the second time in its two years on the
air that it has focused on one subject (the first time was an
episode following the death of Christopher Reeve in 2004). The
coverage helped make the show the biggest year-to-year gainer
of any first-run syndicated daily show. "Insider" was up 14%
over last year and up 4% from the previous week.

"Access Hollywood" averaged a 2.2, rising 5% from the
previous week and 5% from a year ago.

"Extra," which didn't cover the Karr arrest, was flat
week-to-week and year-to-year with a 1.9.

Two other first-run shows managed to post year-to-year
increases. "The People's Court" (2.6) was up 4% from a year ago
despite falling 4% for the week, and "Family Feud" (2.1) was up
5% year-to-year but was down 5% on the week.

Elsewhere in syndication, top game show "Wheel of Fortune"
(6.8) was down 3% from the previous week, No. 1 talker "The
Oprah Winfrey Show" (5.4) increased 2% for the week, and top
court show "Judge Judy" (4.3) was down 7%.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter