Syndication Ratings: Coverage of Life and Death of 'The Queen of Soul' Drives Magazine Ratings

Extensive coverage of the death of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, drove up ratings for the entertainment magazines in the week ended Aug. 19. Franklin succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16 at the age of 76.

During that week, every other genre was largely down and many shows dipped to lows among preemptions for pre-season football, baseball and seasonally depressed levels of people watching television.

Magazine leader CBS Television Distribution’s Inside Edition held steady at a 2.8 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research. CTD’s EntertainmentTonight and NBCUniversal’s Access both improved with ET adding 4% to a four-week high 2.7 and Access growing 10% to a 1.1, tying Warner Bros.’ steady TMZ for the first time in six weeks. Warner Bros.’ Extra was unchanged at a 1.0, as was Trifecta’s Celebrity Page at a 0.3.

On the other hand, games were flat to down. Debmar-Mercury’s game leader Family Feud fell 2% to a 6.1. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune was flat at its season-low 5.3. CTD’s Jeopardy! slumped 4% to a new season-low 5.2, falling behind Wheel. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire broke even at a 1.6.

Meanwhile, Disney-ABC’s viral video show RightThisMinute fell back 7% to a 1.3, matching its season low. NBCU’s off-net true-crime strip Dateline declined 8% to a 1.2.

In daytime, talk was little changed with many shows flirting with season lows. A full week of repeats of CTD’s Dr. Phil led the category for the 102nd straight week with two ties even though the show fell back 4% to a 2.6. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.0.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan remained at a 2.0 to take second place among the talkers for the ninth straight week.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen and NBCU’s Maury, Steve and Jerry Springer all were unchanged at a 1.5, 1.3, 1.1 and 1.1, respectively. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos rose 10% to a 1.1 to tie Steve and Springer. CTD’s Rachael Ray remained at a 1.0. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz dropped 10% to a 0.9, matching its series low.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen gave back 11% to a 0.8, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which was flat in repeats. CTD’s The Doctors remained at a 0.7 for the sixth straight week. The almost-final week of NBCU’s Harry perked up 20% to a 0.6, while Warner Bros.’ The Real retreated 17% to a 0.5.

Among the first-run rookies, CTD’s DailyMailTV in repeats was unchanged at a 0.9 and posted a 20% decline among women 25-54 to a 0.4. Twentieth’s Page Six TV, which aired repackaged shows all week, held steady at a 0.6 and rose 33% among women 25-54 to a 0.4, tying Mail.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask was steady at a 0.5 and a 0.2 among women 25-54. For the eighth straight week, ratings for Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E.W. Scripps, were reprocessed by Nielsen and not available.

Meanwhile, week three of a test run for the Meredith Vieira-hosted game show 25 Words or Less on Fox stations in nine metered markets averaged a 0.7 rating/2 share, down 13% from lead-in but up 17% from its year-ago time periods. 25 Words or Less also improved 17% from its first two weeks when it averaged a 0.6 in those markets.

Among women 25-54, the show did a 0.4/2 and was even compared to lead in and year ago. Compared to the first two weeks when it averaged a 0.3/2 in the demo, 25 Words or Less climbed 33%.

The third week of off-Snapchat dating show Phone Swap on Fox stations in eight markets dialed up a 0.5 rating/1 share, down 17% from its lead in and off 29% from its year-ago time periods. Compared to its first two weeks, Phone Swap is holding steady. The show also rang up a 0.3/2 in the key demo, on par with its lead in but off 25% from its year-ago time-period average and holding steady compared to its first two weeks.

Returning to the national ratings, CTD’s Judge Judy — the 2017-18 season household ratings leader — was the only court show to improve, gaining 3% to a nine-week high 6.6 to top all first-run and off-net programs.

CTD’s Hot Bench, which was mostly in reruns, stayed at a 2.1 and for the third consecutive week ranked as daytime’s third-highest rated show behind only its parent program, JudgeJudy, and Dr. Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court sagged 7% to a 1.4, while Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court tumbled 13% to a 0.7, matching its series low. Trifecta’s out-of-production Judge Faith stayed at its series-low 0.5.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory inched up 2% to a 4.1. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing slid 5% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s Modern Family faded 5% to a new series-low 1.8. SPT’s rookie TheGoldbergs skidded 6% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved down 7% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth’s Family Guy, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Mike and Molly eroded 8% to a 1.2, equalling its series low. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls held steady at a 1.1. SPT’s Seinfeld stayed at a 1.0. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother declined 10% to a 0.9, tying Twentieth’s TheCleveland Show and Warner Bros.’ newcomer Mom, both of which were unchanged at a 0.9. Further back, CTD’s freshman The Game scored a 0.4 for the seventh consecutive frame.

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.