Syndication Ratings: Christmas Blues Descend Upon Syndies

The week ending Dec. 28, which included the Christmas holiday, was a week to forget, unless your names were Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan or Rachael Ray.

Most syndicated shows were in repeats and many had the low-rated Christmas Day broken out of its weekly ratings average.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which is having its strongest season in seven years, bucked the downtrend and scored a season high 3.3 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, topping the talk show roster by nearly a full ratings point. One of the few syndicated shows to remain in originals for the week, Live was up 6% from the prior session and up 10% from last year at this time.

CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray was the only other talk show out of 15 to gain for the week, matching its season-high 1.6, jumping 14% for the week, despite being in reruns on two days. Ray also rose 7% from last year.

CTD’s usual leader Dr. Phil went into a full week of repeats, and dropped 23% to a new season-low 2.4. That was still up 4% from last year at this time and good enough for second place in talk.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen, which led the talkers in the prior week with its “12 Days of Giveaways,” sank 28% to a new season-low 2.3, with a week that also included two repeats.

NBCUniversal’s Maury held steady in fourth place at a 2.0 in households, but was second among women 25-54 at a 1.3 in the key daytime demo, behind Live at a 1.5. NBCU’s Steve Harvey, which was in almost all reruns, rounded out the top five at a 1.8, dipping 5% for the week, but still 13% ahead of last year at this time.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos slipped 7% to a 1.4, tying SPT’s Dr. Oz, which held steady with a full week of repeats. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams weakened 24% to a new season low 1.3 with a week of all reruns, tying NBCU’s Jerry Springer, which was flat.

All-rerun weeks of CTD’s The Doctors and SPT's now out-of-production Queen Latifah both were steady at a 1.0, while Meredith’s The Better Show lost a tenth of a point and 50% to a 0.1 from a 0.2.

Even in a full week of repeats, CTD’s Hot Bench remained atop the first-run rookies with a 1.4 in households. Among women 25-54, Hot Bench tied Warner Bros.’ The Real for first at a 0.7.

NBCU’s Meredith Vieira, which also was renewed for year two, eased 8% to a 1.1, with a mix of originals and repeats, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, which was just renewed for a second season. Week to week, Name Game declined 8%. Warner Bros.’ The Real, in a week of repeats, retreated 9% to a 1.0, where it has been for 11 of the past 13 weeks. Trifecta’s Judge Faith trailed at an unchanged 0.7.

CTD’s Judge Judy led the courts despite airing repeats and dropping 18% to a season low 5.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court managed to gain 7% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court fell 6% to a new season low 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was unchanged at a 1.3. MGM’s sophomore Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court trailed at a flat 1.1.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune and CTD’s Jeopardy! declined sharply to land in a rare tie for the overall syndication and game show lead. Like Judy, Wheel skidded 8% to a new season low 6.0, while Jeopardy! lost 12%.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 8% to a 5.8 to come within only two-tenths of a ratings point of the two leaders, while Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire brought up the rear at its season-low 1.7.

MGM’s video variety show, RightThisMinute, lost 6% to a 1.5.

Magazines were heavily preempted by holiday programming. All of the top six dropped by double digits and all six landed at their season lows. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight lost 26% from the prior week to a 2.5. CTD’s Inside Edition eroded 25% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ TMZ tumbled 15% to a 1.7. NBCU’s Access Hollywood fell 24% to a 1.3, tying Warner Bros.’ Extra, which declined 19%. CTD’s The Insider dropped 15% to a 1.1.

Further back, Twentieth’s Dish Nation, which has been renewed for two more seasons on the Fox Owned Television Stations, dropped 9% to a 1.0, while Trifecta’s OK! TV managed to gain a tenth of a ratings point to a 0.3 from a 0.2.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 15% from the prior session to a new season-low 5.1. Twentieth’s Modern Family declined 14% to a 3.6. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved 3% lower to a 3.0. Twentieth’s Family Guy grew 4% to a 2.6. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike & Molly faded 13% to a 2.1. SPT’s Seinfeld remained at a 2.0. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show softened 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth’s King of the Hill descended 6% to a 1.5.

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.