'Martha' On The Rebound, Now Her Daytime Series Is Showing Life

After slipping since its launch a couple of weeks ago, NBC Television Distribution's "Martha" daytime syndication show has shown some signs of life. The Martha Stewart-hosted show perked up 6 percent to a Nielsen Media Research 1.7 household rating. Sources say "Martha" will inch up another 0.1 of a rating point to a 1.8 household rating next week.

"Martha" had been trending down since its premiere several weeks ago, when the show started with 2.0-plus household ratings. NBC blames many preemptions caused by stations' news coverage of the hurricane disasters.

Hot on Martha's heels has been Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution's "The Tyra Banks Show," which has better younger audiences than "Martha." The "Tyra Banks" show was flat week-to-week, with a 1.5 household rating.

"Both Martha and Tyra's numbers are good, but not great," said Bill Carroll, vp and director of programming for Katz Television Group. "We are still at a time when programs are still getting some sampling. [For 'Martha'], a 6 percent difference is still in the margin of error."



Still way out in front for new syndication shows is a somewhat surprising "Judge Alex," from Twentieth Television--which was down 5 percent week-to-week, but still leads with a 2.1 household rating.

"The show has been a pleasant surprise," said Katz's Carroll. "But it's not a huge surprise. It usually runs in two-hour court show blocks, or runs in tandem with itself [which helps its performance]."

NBC takes pride in the fact that "Martha" doesn't have any double syndication runs, or an extra cable run where it can sell advertising time.

If it has these runs and sells extra advertising time, it would show an increase in overall ratings. A couple of major media agencies won't buy syndication in this manner, according to media agency executives. Extra programming runs should be priced somewhat lower than a show's primary syndication run.

Both "Banks" and "Judge Alex" have double runs with extra advertising selling time. "Martha" does have a run at 6 p.m. on TLC, but that program deal is for cash to that network. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which produces "Martha" along with Mark Burnett Productions, doesn't sell any advertising time in the TLC run.

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