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Syndication Ratings: Celebrity Divorce Is Good for Ratings

Syndie magazines sparked to life in the week ended July 15 on the news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were filing for divorce after five years of marriage, with every show in the genre improving over the prior week.

CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight hit its best ratings in seven weeks, gaining 6% for the week and 3% for the year to a 3.6 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. CTD's Inside Edition improved 7% for both the week and the year to a 3.0. NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood added 6% in both measures to a 1.8, tying Warner Bros.' TMZ, which rebounded 6% for the week but was flat year to year. CTD's The Insider and Warner Bros.' Extra both improved 7% for the week to a 1.5.

Most of the talk shows were in repeats, and that was reflected in talk's low ratings. CTD's Dr. Phil gave back 4% from the prior week to a new season-low 2.3, tying NBCUniversal's summer favorite Maury, which was flat, and Sony's Dr. Oz, which added 5%. Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly fell 4% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Ellen lost 7% to a 1.6. CTD's The Doctors held firm at a 1.5. CTD's Rachael Ray receded 7% to a 1.4. NBCU's Jerry Springer had talk's biggest decline for the week, eroding 13% to a 1.3, and tying fellow conflict talker NBCU's Steve Wilkos, which added 8%. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams dropped to a new season low, sinking 11% to a 0.8.

Warner Bros.' Bethenny wrapped the six-week test that began on June 11, notching a 43% household rating over its July 2011 time periods and averaging a 1.0 rating/3 share. Among the key female demos, Bethenny added 80% to a 0.9/6 among the key women 25-54 demo, 100% to a 0.8/6 among women 18-49 and 75% to a 0.7/5 among women 18-34 on Fox stations in six metered markets.

Among the nationally rated rookies, Warner Bros.' Anderson dipped 8% to a 1.1. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle and Entertainment Studios' We the People were unchanged at a 0.5 and 0.4, respectively.

Elsewhere, CTD's late-night dating show, Excused, added 40% to a 0.7, the show's highest rating in four weeks and the largest week-to-week increase of any first-run strip.

In court, CTD's Judge Judy presided with a 5.9, a 2% drop from the prior week, but still daytime's strongest rating. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court eroded 10% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.5. Twentieth's Judge Alex weakened 7% to a 1.3. Twentieth's Divorce Court added 9% to a 1.2 . Entertainment Studios' America's Court was flat at a 0.8.

Among the game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune came back to life, adding 7% from its season low the prior week to a 6.0. CTD's Jeopardy! recovered 6% to a 5.2. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud and Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire each were unchanged at a 3.0 and 2.3, respectively.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory led both the sitcoms and syndication, jumping 9% to a 6.2. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men climbed 4% to a 5.1. Twentieth's Family Guy advanced 5% to a 4.0. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother spiked 26% to a 2.9. Sony's Seinfeld was up 9% to a 2.4, tying Twentieth's King of the HIll, which added 14%. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond retreated 9% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends fell 5% to a 1.9.