Syndication Ratings: Christmas Drains Spirit Out of Syndies

Christmas brought no gifts for syndies.

In the week ending Dec. 29, which included Christmas Day, many syndicated shows hit new season lows.

One notable exception was Disney/ABC's Live with Kelly and Michael, which matched its second-highest rating of the season and won the talk-show race. Live grew 7% among households to a 3.0 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, despite airing pre-taped and repackaged shows all week, and 6% among women 25-54 to a 1.7.

Live was one of only four talk shows out of 17 that managed to improve for the week. The other three were NBCUniversal’s Maury, CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray and CTD’s The Doctors.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen came in a distant second, slumping 20% to a 2.4, and matching its season low with a mix of originals and repeats.

CTD’s season-to-date talk leader Dr. Phil was in reruns all week, as were most of the talkers, and as a result slipped 18% to a new season-low 2.3 for third place.

Maury finished 5% higher at a 2.2 in households, and was the top talker among both women 18-49 at a 1.2 and women 18-34 at a 1.0. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz dipped 5% to a 1.8 in repeats, but still grew 11% among women 25-54 to a 1.0.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey dropped 11% to a 1.6, but still managed to improve 23% from last year, the biggest increase of any talk show. Disney/ABC’s Katie yielded 6% to a 1.6, tying Harvey.

Rachael Ray rose 7% to a 1.5. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos was flat at a 1.4. NBCU’s Jerry Springer remained at a 1.3. The Doctors advanced 9% to a 1.2. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams declined 23% to a new season-low 1.0.

NBCU’s Trisha trimmed 17% to a 0.5. Meredith’s The Better Show was flat at a 0.2.

Among the rookies, SPT’s recently renewed Queen Latifah held firm at a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ Bethenny, whose second-season return is still in question, was steady at a 0.8 in households, tying Latifah among women 25-54 at a 0.6. CTD’s The Test, expected to return next year, was flat at a 0.6. In late-night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall, also expected to make a season-two return, slipped 14% to a 0.6.

In the metered markets, Tribune and CTD’s test of Serch clocked a 0.6 rating/3 share among women 25-54 after three days on eight Tribune-owned stations, taking KTLA Los Angeles’ 4 p.m. time period up 150% over last January and WPIX New York 4 p.m. up 14% in the key demo. Overall, Serch held steady in the demo compared to last year.

In households, Serch averaged a 0.9/2 across the eight markets over its first three days, down one-tenth of a ratings point or 10% from year-ago time periods.

Back in the national ratings, CTD’s court leader Judge Judy went into repeats for the full week and was off 14% to a new season-low 6.1, but still tied CTD’s Wheel of Fortune as the highest- rated show in syndication, climbing 5% from last year at this time.

In second place, Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was flat at a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis remained at a 1.6, tying Twentieth’s Divorce Court which fell 6% and Twentieth’s Judge Alex, which was flat. MGM’s rookie Paternity Court was up 11% to a 1.0.

In access, none of the shows were up from the prior session. Wheel of Fortune slowed 13% to a previously mentioned 6.1, matching its season low. CTD’s Jeopardy! also slid 13% to a 5.6. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 6% to a 4.9 and Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire receded 10% to a 1.9.

The highest-rated magazines all fell to new season lows. CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight lost 22% from the previous week to a 2.8. CTD’s Inside Edition eroded 13% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ TMZ tumbled 21% to a 1.5. NBCU’s Access Hollywood dropped 28% to a 1.3, tying Warner Bros.’ Extra, which declined 19%. CTD’s omg! Insider, in its last week with that name, fell 21% to a 1.1.

MGM’s RightThisMinute dropped 18% to a 0.9, tying Twentieth’s sophomore Dish Nation, which was flat at a 0.9. Trifecta’s America Now and OK! TV both were unchanged at a their usual 0.3 and 0.2, respectively.

Among the veteran off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 11% from the prior week to a 5.7. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men sagged 18% to a new season-low 3.2. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 6% to a 2.9. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother moved up 5% to a 2.2. SPT’s Seinfeld and Warner Bros.’ Friends both were flat at a 1.9 and 1.8 respectively, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill climbed 6% to a 1.8.

Meanwhile, Twentieth’s Modern Family continued to lead the rookies but lost 12% from the prior week to a 4.5. Twentieth’s animated Cleveland Show slipped 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.’ The Middle weakened 7% to a 1.3, while SPT’s Community, which resumed its network run on Jan. 2 on NBC, was the only newcomer to maintain its rating, holding steady at a 0.4.

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.