Ellen on Holiday High

The syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show got a nice holiday gift: its best national weekly ratings ever.

The show, which came in sixth among all talkers, scored a 2.4 rating average for the week ending Dec. 19, up 9% from the prior week and up 50% year to year. That came amid a general decline for other talkers.

Ellen’s highest-rated show of the week featured singer Celine Dion and averaged a 2.5 Dec. 17.

The top five talk shows were Oprah, Dr. Phil, Live With Regis & Kelly, Maury, and Montel.

Oprah slipped to its lowest rating of the season, down 8% to a 6.6, although the show was still up 10% year to year.

Paramount’s Dr. Phil was down 2%, both from last week and last year, to a 5.1.Buena Vista’s Live with Regis & Kelly, was up 6% for the week but down 10% for the year to a 3.6. NBC Universal’s Maury was up 7% for the week and up 3% year to year to a 3.0. Paramount’s Montel Williams Show was up 9% for the week and even with last year at a 2.5.

Also having a good week was NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer, with a seventh-place 2.3, up 5% from both the prior week and last year to a new season high.

Most court shows, already on a roll, were relatively unchanged.

Paramount’s top-rated one-two punch of Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown held steady at a 5.2 and 3.6, respectively, with both shows remaining at their season highs.

Elsewhere, very few access shows were up. The only magazine to improve was Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, which gained 2% to a 5.2. King World’s top game Wheel of Fortune was down 5% to an 8.9, while King World’s Jeopardy! was down 6% to a 7.6 after dropping 12% the prior week.

None of the top eight off-net sitcoms advanced, with King World’s leader, Everybody Loves Raymond, dipping only 1% to a 7.1.

Among the first-run rookies, Paramount’s The Insider continued to rule by a wide margin with a 2.6, down 4% after being preempted by holiday specials in several markets.

NBC Universal’s Jane Pauley Show was second at a 1.4, down 7%, followed by Buena Vista’s The Tony Danza Show, unchanged at a 1.3, and Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover, down 10% to a 0.9.

Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show at a 0.9, Sony’s Pat Croce: Moving In at a 0.7 and Sony’s Life & Style at a 0.5 were all unchanged. 

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.