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Basketball, Daylight Bad for Syndies

Several talk shows fell to season lows in the week ending March 20 due to the killer combination of college basketball and daylight savings time, with levels of people using television declining by almost three million viewers in the face of that double whammy.
CBS Television Distribution's Oprah, heading into the home stretch of its 25-year daytime run, continued to erode in repeats, falling to a new season low 3.4. That's a decline of 40% over the previous three weeks and 8% compared to the prior week.
Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly faded 4% to a 2.6. CTD's Dr. Phil, which was primarily in repeats and was hit with multi-day preemptions in 21 metered markets, lost 25% to a new season low 2.1. That tied Sony's Dr. Oz, which suffered a 9% decline and also fell to a new season low. NBC Universal's Maury avoided a season low, but did fall 5% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Ellen was not so lucky, tumbling 22% to a new season low 1.8. CTD's The Doctors gave back 12% to a 1.5, tying CTD's Rachael Ray, which eased 6%. NBCU's Steve Wilkos dropped 7% to a 1.3, tying Jerry Springer, which was the only talker to improve on the week, moving up 8%. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, who is now competing on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and will start hosting Love Triangle on GSN on April 11, stumbled 10% to a 0.9.
CTD's Judge Judy won daytime for the second week, beating Oprah by 21%, but yielding 9% from the prior week to a 4.1. CTD's Judge Joe Brown and Warner Bros.' People's Court each slipped 5% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis softened 6% to a 1.5. Twentieth's Judge Alex was unchanged at a 1.2. Twentieth's Divorce Court settled for a new season low 1.1 after sinking 8%. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro was flat at a last place 0.9.
CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace continued to lead the newcomers with a steady 1.2. Sony's Nate Berkus, Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics and Litton's Judge Karen's Court all were flat at 0.9, 0.7 and 0.6, respectively. On the other hand, Entertainment Studio's America's Court grew 50% -- or one-tenth of a ratings point -- to a 0.3.
In access, which usually sees declines across the board when the days get longer, CTD's Wheel of Fortune remained on top but was dipped 1% to a 7.2. CTD's Jeopardy! weakened 8% to a 5.5. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud and Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader all were unchanged at 2.3, ,1.7 and 0.9, respectively.
NBCU's Access Hollywood was a bright spot among the access magazines, moving up to third place after holding steady at its season high 2.1. In addition, Access was the only magazine to outperform its year-ago delivery, growing 5%.
CTD's magazine leader, Entertainment Tonight, dipped 3% to a 3.9. CTD's Inside Edition retreated 10% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ sank 9% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Extra held firm at a 1.7, while CTD's The Insider lost 12% to a 1.5 and fell back to last place.
Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' leader Two and a Half Men slipped 10% to a 5.3. Twentieth's Family Guy bucked the trend, adding 11% to a 4.1. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids were flat at a 2.6. Sony's Seinfeld sank 12% to a 2.3. NBCU's The Office declined 4% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' George Lopez yielded 5% to a 2.1, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill which was flat at a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends fell 5% to a 1.8.
Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother, Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine and Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns all were unchanged at 2.4, 1.3 and 1.1, respectively. Warner Bros.' Entourage advanced 17% to a 0.7, while Warner's Curb your Enthusiasm and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives were flat at a 0.6 and 0.5, respectively.