Olympics Take Toll On Syndication

Most nationally syndicated shows finished out of the medal hunt for for the week ending Aug. 22, the first full week of Olympics, with ratings sharply lower for most daytime strips, though most of those were in re-runs anyway.

Many syndicated shows cleared on NBC stations were preempted altogether for the network’s 67 hours of non-prime coverage of the games. Those that did run ran into stronger-than-usual competition from cable coverage of the games. Talkers were especially hard hit, with all of the top six down and four of those by double digits.Oprah was down 2% to a 5.6, Dr. Phil was off 18% to a 3.3; Live with Regis & Kelly was down 6%, also to a 3.3; Maury was down 10% to a 2.6; Montel was down 16% to a 2.1;  and Jerry Springer was down 14% to a 1.9.The only talk show averaging above a 1 rating that bucked the slide was Ellen, which despite 15 Olympic preemptions was up 14% to a 1.6, its highest rating in six weeks.In access, ET led the mags by a wide margin, up 2% to a 4.6, its best ratings in five weeks despite Olympic preemptions in major markets. Inside Edition, also heavily preempted, was down 6% to a 3.1 for second place. Access Hollywood, which likely benefited from Olympic lead-ins in some big markets, was up 14% to a 2.5 for third place. Extra, which was preempted all week in L.A. with KNBC-TV running Access Hollywood instead of Extra at 7 p.m., was down 4% to a 2.2.Celebrity Justice was down 17% to a 1.0.All the top sitcoms and game shows were either down or flat.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.