Syndicated Ratings: Magazines Star in First Post-Sweep Week

Magazines exited November sweeps and headed into their best week of the year so far, with every show in the genre hitting or equaling its season high in the week ended Dec. 2. In general, shows that play in prime access time slots -- magazines, games and off-net sitcoms -- were up.

With coverage of events such as Larry Hagman's death and Lindsay Lohan's latest, CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight soared to a new season-high 4.1, according to Nielsen Media Research, up 21% for the week and 5% for the year. CTD's Inside Edition perked up 14% to a new season-high 3.2. NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' TMZ both surged 19% to a 1.9, with Access setting a new season best and TMZ matching its previous season high. Warner Bros.' Extra grew 7% to a 1.6, equaling its best rating so far this season, and tying CTD's The Insider, soon to be relaunched as omg! Insider, which climbed 7% for the week and also matched its season high. Twentieth's rookie Dish Nation jumped 25% to hit a new series high 1.0.

Talk shows were mixed as some programs headed into repeats after the November sweep. CTD's Dr. Phil remained the top talker, off 6% from the prior week but still up 3% from last year to a 3.1. Dr. Phil also added 13% from the same week last year among women 25-54 to a first-place 1.8 in the key daytime demo.

Warner Bros.' Ellen held steady for the week and climbed 4% from last year to a 2.6, tying Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael, which added 4% for the week. Live! also earned its highest women 25-54 ratings since 2007, averaging a 1.6 season-to-date. NBCU's Maury improved 4% for the week and year to a 2.4, tying Sony's Dr. Oz, which improved 4% for the week. Maury remained in the lead among the younger female demos, leading in women 18-34 with a 1.3 and women 18-49 with a 1.5.

NBCU's Steve Wilkos held steady at its series-high 1.5 for a fourth straight week, while jumping 15% from last year, talk's largest year-to-year gain.

CTD's The Doctors was flat at a 1.4, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which dropped 7%. CTD's Rachael Ray, in repeats, dropped 19% to a new season-low 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams gained 9% to hit a new season-high 1.2. Warner Bros.' Anderson Live!, was not live but in repeats all week, dropping 9% from the prior week to a 1.0. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle was flat at a 0.6.

Among the rookie talkers, Disney-ABC's Katie, in repeats, declined 6% to a 1.7. Meanwhile, NBCU's Steve Harvey had its best week yet, surging 15% to a new series-high 1.5, the biggest weekly increase of any talk show. CTD's Jeff Probst equaled its previous series high with a 14% improvement for the week to a 0.8. Twentieth's Ricki Lake dropped 13% for the week to a 0.7. NBCU's Trisha Goddard was steady at a 0.5. 

Game shows were lively, with CTD's Wheel of Fortune recovering 19% to a new season-high 7.5, taking the overall syndication lead. CTD's Jeopardy! rebounded 18% to a new season-high 6.5. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud jumped 20% to a new series-high 4.9, the show's best performance in 22 years. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire earned a 14% ratings dividend to close at a 2.4. NBCU's newbie Baggage was unchanged at a 1.2.

CTD's Judge Judy ruled the court shows with a 7.0, dipping 3% from the prior week and falling to third in the overall syndication rankings. CTD's Judge Joe Brown added 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court advanced 11% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis perked up 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Divorce Court climbed 17% to a 1.4. Twentieth's Judge Alex added 8% to a 1.3. Entertainment Tonight's America's Court declined 11% to a 0.8. ES' newcomer Justice for All slid 20% to a 0.4, while its We the People weakened 33% to a 0.2. All three court shows are part of ES' new cable network, Justice Central.TV, which launched on Monday, Dec. 10.

In off-net syndication, Warner Bros.' top sitcom Big Bang Theory climbed 14% from the prior session to a 7.3 and a second-place syndie finish. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men ballooned 14% to a new season-high 5.7. Twentieth's Family Guy grew 14% to a new season-high 4.0. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother moved up 4% to a new season-high 2.9. Sony's Seinfeld added 9% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Friends finished 5% higher at a new season-high 2.3, while CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond rallied 11% to a 2.1.

Paige Albiniak

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.