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'Dr. Phil' Becomes Syndie's Top-Talker as 'Oprah' Waves Goodbye

It only took a week.

In the first week after the end of Oprah's 25-year run, Dr. Phil became syndication's top talk show. The Oprah spin-off earned a 2.6 live plus same day household rating to Oprah's series-low 2.3, according to Nielsen Media Research.

CBS Television Distribution's Oprah left first-run syndication to huge ratings on May 25, and now is off the air in some markets. In New York, the show has already been moved out of its 4 p.m. slot on WABC and replaced by local news.

Much of the rest of syndication suffered in the first week after the May sweeps, which included Memorial Day. Many shows were in repeats for the week, or were preempted by coverage of the French Open tennis tournament.

Oprah's 2.3 is the show's lowest level in its 25-year history, down 61% from the prior week and landing it in third place among talkers.

Even though CTD's Dr. Phil took over the top talk slot, it fell back 19% for the week. Phil was up 8% from last year at this time, however.

In second place, Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly was flat at a 2.4. NBCUniversal's Maury came in fourth, declining 5% to a 2.0, and tying Sony's Dr. Oz, which also dropped 5% and hit a new season low. Warner Bros.' Ellen faded 10% to a 1.8. CTD's The Doctors, CTD's Rachael Ray and NBCU's Jerry Springer all were unchanged at a 1.4. NBCU's Steve Wilkos added 8% to a 1.3, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams weakened 9% to a 1.0.

At the top of the syndication charts, CTD's Judge Judy was one of only a handful of shows to improve over the last week of the sweep. Judy improved 3% to a 6.5, increasing her lead over all other syndicated fare. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was second among court shows with a 2.5, off 4% from the prior week. Warner Bros.' People's Court was flat at a 1.8. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex each were down 6% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis, which was flat. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro, which will go off the air after this season, was unchanged for the sixth consecutive week at a 0.8.

Among the rookies, CTD's Swift Justice, soon to be without Nancy Grace, held stead y at a 1.6. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, also ending its run, jumped over Sony's Nate Berkus to take second place among the newcomers for an 11% increase to a 1.0. Nate, which was sold to stations in two-year deals, sank 20% to a new series-low 0.8. Litton's Judge Karen's Court lost 13% to a 0.7, while Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross declined 25% to a 0.3.

Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 10% to a new season-low 5.7. CTD's Jeopardy! also fell to a new season low, eroding 9% to a 4.9. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was flat at a 2.3. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire dropped 4% to a 2.2. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, wrapping up its run, softened 9% to a 1.0.

Magazines all suffered double-digit declines for this week without an Arnold Schwarzenegger-level scandal on which to report, although with Weiner-gate waiting in the wings, next week's ratings should see some spikes.

CTD's Entertainment Tonight remained atop the magazines despite declining 13% to a 3.4. CTD's Inside Edition declined 10% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ tumbled 13% to a 2.0. NBCU's Access Hollywood retreated 10% to a 1.8. CTD's The Insider slipped 12% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.' Extra, which was once again preempted in several markets due to coverage of the French Open tennis tournament, lost 12% to a 1.5.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men continued to lead, but dropped 6% to a 5.8. Twentieth's Family Guy, Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids, Warner Bros.' George Lopez all were unchanged at a 4.5, 3.0 and 2.7, respectively. NBCU's The Office and CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond each added 8% to a 2.7, tying Lopez. Sony's Seinfeld and Twentieth's King of the Hill each were flat at a 2.6 and 2.4, respectively, while Warner Bros.' Friends slipped 5% to a 1.8.

Finally, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother led the new off-net and off cable strips with a 7% rise to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine ticked up 8% to a 1.4, while Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns held steady at a 1.2.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.