Syndication Ratings: At May Sweeps' Mid-Point, 'Judge Judy' Reigns

Judge Judy is the queen of the May sweep at the midpoint of the ratings period, which runs April 26 through May 23.

In the session ending May 13, CBS Television Distribution’s court-show leader and its fellow top-five gavelers all were up week to week while everything else in first-run was flat or down.

Judy led all of syndication with a 7.1 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, the show’s highest rating since the week of March 26, up 1% from the previous week and 6% from last year at this time. That was the 12th week in a row that Judy ruled the syndication ratings chart.

In second place among the courts, CTD’s Hot Bench grew 5% for the week and 10% from last year to a 2.3. Hot Bench was the only strip in the legal genre besides Judy to show annual improvement. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court rose 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ JudgeMathis moved up 10% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s Divorce Court climbed 13% to a 0.9. Trifecta’s Judge Faith was flat at a 0.6 for the seventh straight week.

All of the top-tier talkers dropped for the week and nothing in the category improved. CTD’s Dr. Phil returned 9% to a 3.0, but continued to lead the talkers for the 88th consecutive week with two ties. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil led with a 1.2.

Back in households, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan retook second place at a 2.1, despite dipping 5% from the prior week. Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show dropped back 9% to third place with a 2.0.

NBCUniversal’s Maury slumped 7% to a new season-low 1.3 and declined 19% from last year. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams weakened 8% to a 1.2, tying NBCU’s steady Steve. CTD’s Rachael Ray and NBCU’s conflict talkers Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos all held steady at a 1.1, 1.1 and 1.0, respectively. Wilkos tied SPT’s Dr. Oz, which declined 9% to a 1.0, to match its series low.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen held steady at a 0.9 and was one of only three shows in the genre to avoid any year-to-year erosion, holding firm. The other two were Rachael Ray and CTD’s The Doctors, both of which were on par with one year ago.

For the third straight week, NBCU’s soon-to-end Harry, Warner Bros.’ The Real and The Doctors all remained flat at a 0.7.

The top-three rookies all lost ground. CTD’s DailyMailTV fell 10% to a 0.9, matching its season low, but added 20% in the key demographic to a 0.6.

Twentieth’s Page Six TV,, in week nine of new host tryouts, relinquished 13% to a 0.7, and slipped 25% in the demo to a 0.4.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask lost 20% — or one-tenth of a ratings point — to a 0.4 in households and was unchanged at a 0.2 among women 25-54. Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben, which is produced by Scripps, posted its usual 0.3 for the 34th straight week, but sank 50% to a 0.1 among women 25-54.

Game shows were sluggish. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 2% to a 6.2. CTD’s Jeopardy! yielded 2% to a 5.8. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune slowed 2% to a 5.7. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire broke even at an unchanged 1.6.

Disney-ABC’s viral video show RightThisMinute sagged 7% to a 1.3, while NBCU’s off-net true-crime strip Dateline recovered 9% to a 1.2 after falling to a new series low in the prior week.

The magazines were almost entirely flat, with CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition, NBCU’s Access, Warner Bros.’ Extra and Trifecta’s Celebrity Page all holding steady at a 2.9, 2.9, 1.2, 1.1, and 0.2, respectively. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was the sole exception as it tumbled 7% for the week and 13% from last year.

In off-net syndication, Twentieth’s Last Man Standing, which will be revived by Fox next season, rallied 26% to a new season-high 2.4 and finished in second place to Warner Bros.’ leader The Big Bang Theory, which held at a 4.5. Twentieth’s Modern Family, which has been in second place among the off-net sitcoms since its syndicated debut in 2013, fell to third place at a flat 2.1.

Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 7% to a 1.6. SPT’s rookie The Goldbergs and Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls all were unchanged at a 1.5, 1.5, 1.3, 1.1, respectively.

SPT’s Seinfeld skidded 9% to a 1.0, equalling its series low and tying Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show, which stood pat at its series low 1.0 for the fifth straight week.

Among the rookie off-nets, Warner Bros.’ Mom motored ahead 11% to a 1.0, while CTD’s TheGame continued to play at a 0.4 for the 14th time in 15 weeks.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.