Karr drives ratings higher for TV gossip shows

By Reuters

Sep 01, 2006

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 Thursday.

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, Colorado, 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 percent from the show's previous weekly rating and up 7 percent 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 percent to a 3.3 and also increasing 10 percent 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 percent over last year and up 4 percent from the previous week.

Access Hollywood averaged a 2.2, rising 5 percent from the previous week and 5 percent 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 percent from a year ago despite falling 4 percent for the week, and Family Feud (2.1) was up 5 percent year-to-year but was down 5 percent on the week.

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

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  • corlorde Sep 03, 2006

    Pretty pathetic. Just another example of the declining western media.