Syndication Ratings: Daytime Perks Up on Verge of May Sweep

One week before the start of the May sweep, the daytime talk shows started heating up.

In the week ended April 20, 10 of the 11 highest-rated talkers climbed from the previous week, with more than half of those showing double-digit increases from last year at this time. CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil set the pace, finishing first for the 33rd time in the past 37 weeks with a 3.1 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, an uptick of 3% from the prior week and 11% from the same week one year ago.

Disney/ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which is having its strongest delivery in seven years this season, came in second with a 4% weekly gain to a 2.9, and a 21% jump from last year at this time. Among women 25-54, Live tied Phil at a 1.6.

In third place, Warner Bros.’ Ellen was the only talker in the top-11 that didn’t improve among households for the week or the year, remaining flat at its season-low 2.4.

NBCUniversal’s Maury rose 11% for the week and year to a 2.1 in fourth place, coming the closest to Ellen since the week of Dec. 29. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz spiked 5% to a 2.0 in households. Oz also jumped 9% to a 1.2 among women 25-54, that show’s best demo rating in six weeks.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey leaped 13% to a 1.8 in households and scored the biggest year-to-year improvement of any talker, growing 29%. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos added 7% to a 1.5, tying Disney/ABC’s Katie, which improved 15%. Wilkos also posted the second-largest year-to-year gain of any talker, surging 25%.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, coming back to original episodes, improved 40% to a 1.4 for the week, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which rose 8%. NBCU’s Jerry Springer spurted 18% to a 1.3. CTD’s The Doctors, which aired its 1,000th episode on Tuesday, April 29, held steady at a 1.1, while NBCU’s Trisha, which will end its run after this season, and Meredith’s The BetterShow each were flat at a 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.

Among the newcomers, SPT’s Queen Latifah, the only new daytime show that will return next fall, held steady at a 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Bethenny rebounded 17% from last week’s season low to a 0.7. CTD’s The Test remained at a 0.6 for the eighth week in a row.

In late-night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall perked up 17% to a 0.7.

Elsewhere in daytime, all of the court shows improved from the prior week. CTD’s Judge Judy presided over syndication with a 7.0, up 4% from the prior session and up 13% from last year at this time. Warner Bros.’ People's Court, in second place, added 13% for the week to a 1.8. Twentieth’s Judge Alex, in its final months on the air, jumped 15% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and Twentieth’s Divorce Court, both of which improved 7%. MGM’s newcomer Paternity Court gained 10% for the week to a 1.1.

Warner Bros’ Extra delivered the largest week-to-week gain among the top six, improving 7% to a 1.5 and tying NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which was off 6%. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight led the genre for the 925th straight week, or nearly 18 years, but dipped 3% to a 3.3. CTD’s Inside Edition slumped 7% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ TMZ recovered 6% to a 1.8, while CTD’s The Insider held steady at a 1.3.

MGM’s viral-video show, RightThisMinute, rose 10% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s Dish Nation rebounded 11% to a 1.0. Trifecta’s America Now, ending after this season, and freshman OK! TV both were unchanged at a 0.3.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune led the games, speeding up 5% to a 6.6 from the prior week’s 6.3. CTD’s Jeopardy! continued to remain within striking distance of the top spot, tacking on 3% to a 6.4. Not far behind, Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud finished 4% higher at a 5.0, while Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire lagged at a 2.1, up 5% for the week.

While daytime shows picked up speed, the off-net sitcoms continued to slump in the face of longer days and warmer weather. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory was unchanged at a 5.8, remaining at its lowest score since December. Twentieth’s newcomer Modern Family picked up 5% to 4.2. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men weakened 3% to a 3.4. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 13% to a 2.7. SPT’s Seinfeld strengthened 11% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show was steady at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Friends was flat at a 1.8 for the ninth week in a row, tying Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother, which also was flat.

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.