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News Link • Media: Television

'Oprah' Ratings Continue to Plummet

• Paige Albiniak via Broadcasting & Cable
Oprah is having one tough summer.

In the week ending July 18, CBS Television Distribution's The Oprah Winfrey Show sunk to an all-time ratings low for the third time in five weeks, dropping 13% from the prior week to a 2.8 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen Media Research. That almost moved Oprah out of syndie's top-ten, tying for overall ninth place with CTD's Inside Edition and reruns of the off-net hour CSI: New York. Compared to last year at this time, Oprah is down 20%.

That said, Oprah, which was in repeats all week except for Monday, remained the top talker for the 585th week in a row, according to CTD.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of access magazines rose while those of actor Mel Gibson fell, as recordings of him hurling profanities and threats at his ex-girlfriend spread across the Internet.

CTD's Entertainment Tonight led the magazine race, gaining 3% to a 3.7. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition added 4% to a 2.8. NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' TMZ were unchanged at a 1.9 and 1.8, respectively. CTDs' The Insider jumped 7% to a 1.6, tying Warner Bros.' Extra, which was flat.

Also in access, four of the five game shows were flat, with CTD's Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud and Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? all staying put at  5.8, 5.0, 1.5 and 1.2, respectively. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was the only game show to gain, moving up 5% to a 2.3.

Warner Bros.' sitcom leader, Two and Half Men, hit its season low, dropping 2% to a 4.1. The rest of the field was mixed. Twentieth's Family Guy grew 7% to a 3.1. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond rallied 3% to a 3.0. Sony's Seinfeld stayed at a 2.5. Warner Bros.' George Lopez lost 4% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill climbed 5% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' Friends added 5% to a 2.0. Debmar-Mercury's House of Payne picked up 7% to a 1.5. CTD's Frasier fell 7% to a 1.4. Sony's King of Queens slid 7% to a new season low 1.3.

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