The early success of "TMZ," a new syndicated television show based on the popular Web site of the same name, illustrates just how valuable the celebrity news niche has become.
The show, a half-hour of celebrity scandal, had its premiere on Sept. 10. By the end of the month, it was the top-rated new show in syndication by a wide margin, delivering a 1.7 household rating, or about two million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Among other syndicated series with premieres this fall, "The Steve Wilkos Show" averaging half as many households, is its nearest rival.
"Entertainment Tonight," the longtime leader among entertainment shows with a 4.8 household rating the same week, has little to worry about, at least for the time being. But "TMZ" is one of the first sites to successfully turn its Internet brand into a television series, and it has performed especially well among younger viewers.