It was a clean sweep for distributor King World Productions, which claimed syndication's top four shows for the week ending May 16, which included the second week of May sweeps.
Game show Wheel of Fortune remained number one, but Oprah beat out Jeopardy! to take the number-two spot. Dr. Phil broke the top-five for the first time ever, beating even syndie stalwarts Sony's Seinfeld and Warner Bros.' Friends.
Dr. Phil's 5.9 matched its all-time high and the show hit a 6 rating or better on three of the five days.
It was also the best relationship Dr. Phil has ever had with women 18-34 and women 18-49, with increases of 17%, to a 3.4, and 16%, to a 3.7, respectively, in the key demographics. In households, the show surged 9% from the prior week and was up 16% over last year, the largest year-to-year improvement of any talker except for Oprah's 19% gain.
Twentieth's On Air with Ryan Seacrest also had a hot week, jumping 18% to a series-high 1.3, giving the show a firm hold on second place among first-run rookies. The show's personal best weekly rating included its highest ever single-episode rating of a 1.8 for a May 13 show that featured the first appearance by LaToya London after being voted off Fox's American Idol, which Seacrest also hosts, in a shocking upset.
Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show kept her top spot, though flat at a 1.9.
Three other gabbers in the winners' column were Oprah, at the top of the list, up 7% to a 7.4.
Number-three talker, Buena Vista's Live with Regis & Kelly, was up 3% to a 3.5. In ninth place, Twentieth's Good Day Live was up 10% to a 1.1.
Elsewhere in daytime, three of seven courtroom shows scored gains. Paramount's leading jurist, Judge Judy, jumped 4% to a 5.0. Paramount's Judge Joe Brown was a strong second, up 3% to a 3.5. Twentieth's Divorce Court was up 4% to a third-place 2.6.
In access time periods, only two of the five magazines had increases for the week. Paramount's Entertainment Tonight, the top-rated magazine, was up 4% to a 5.2, while King World's runner-up, Inside Edition, surged 13% to a 3.5.
Three of the nine game and relationship shows coming back next season were also higher. Jeopardy was up 3% to a 6.8, Buena Vista's Who Wants to be a Millionaire climbed 3% to a 3.5, and Tribune's Family Feud jumped 11% to a 2.1. Leader Wheel of Fortune was unchanged at an 8.2.
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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.
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