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Christmas No Ratings Gift For Syndies

The Christmas holidays slowed syndication to almost a halt in the week ended Dec. 26, with many shows hitting new season lows.

Talkers were hit particularly hard with most of the field in repeats. CBS Television Distribution's talk leader, Oprah, which did air originals during the week, dropped 17% from the prior week to a new season-low 3.5 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Disney-ABC's Live! With Regis and Kelly, which rarely does repeats, slipped just 3% to a 2.8. CTD's Dr. Phil declined 18%, a tie for talk's second-largest drop, to a 2.3. Sony's Dr. Oz dropped 8% to a 2.2. NBC Universal's Maury continued to defy the odds, remaining tied with its season high at a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Ellen took talk's largest hit, tumbling 26% to a 2.0. CTD's two talkers, The Doctors and Rachael Ray, each were flat at a 1.8 and 1.7, respectively. NBCU's Jerry Springer dropped 7% to a 1.4, while Springer spin-off Steve Wilkos was unchanged at a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams trailed the field with an 18% loss to a 0.9

With Oprah in repeats, CTD's top court, Judge Judy, won daytime for the fourth consecutive week, despite easing 7% to a 4.1.

The rest of court was mostly flat: CTD's Judge Joe Brown, Warner Bros.' People's Court and Judge Mathis and Twentieth's Divorce Court all were steady at a 2.0, 1.8, 1.5, and 1.3, respectively. Twentieth's Judge Alex was the one court to buck the downtrend, gaining 8% to a 1.3, while Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro sank 10% to a 0.9.

Among the magazines, CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight fell 15% to a 3.4. ET and most other news magazines declined due to sharply lower ratings on Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24. CTD's Inside Edition, in second place, fell 16% to a 2.6. NBCU's Access Hollywood slipped 10% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ, recently renewed for three years, declined 11% to 1.7. CTD's The Insider slipped 6% from the prior week but was the only magazine to improve over last year at this time, growing 7% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Extra --which was heavily preempted, particularly on NBC stations -- declined 12% to a 1.5.

CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace remained atop the rookie first-runs, holding steady at a 1.3. Sony's Oprah spin-off Nate Berkus and Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics tied for second place at a 1.0, with Lyrics holding steady and Nate gaining 11%. Litton's Judge Karen's Court, just renewed for a second season, was flat at a 0.6 for the third straight week. Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross, renewed for two more seasons, remained at a 0.4 for the 11th week in a row.

Rookie off-net and off-cable strips continued to be led by Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother, which was unchanged at a 2.5. Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine and Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns tied at a 1.4, both remaining even with the prior frame. Disney-ABC's Ugly Betty dropped 11% to a 0.8, tying Debmar-Mercury's E! True Hollywood Story, which was flat. Warner Bros.' pair of off-HBO comedies -- Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm -- and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives all were unchanged at a 0.7, 0.7 and 0.5, respectively.

Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune declined 7% to a 6.7, while Jeopardy! slid 10% to a 5.5. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire declined 4% to a 2.2. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud returned to its upward climb, adding 6% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader was flat at a 1.0.

Veteran off-net sitcoms were led by Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, which dropped 12% to a 5.3. Twentieth's Family Guy eased 7% to a 3.9. Three laffers beat the trend and notched new season highs - CTD's Everybody LovesRaymond climbed 7% to a 3.1, Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids improved 3% to a 3.0 and Warner Bros.' George Lopez gained 13% to a 2.7. In sixth place, Sony's Seinfeld dipped 4% to a 2.6, while NBCU's The Office and Twentieth's King of the Hill were unchanged at a 2.3 and 2.2, respectively. Warner Bros.' Friends picked up 6% to a 1.9.