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Syndication Ratings: In Debut, 'The Real' Shows Demo Promise

Warner Bros.’ rookie talker The Real opened to a 0.9 rating/3 share metered market primary-run household average on Monday, Sept. 15, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That was down 40% from its lead-in and off 10% from its year-ago time average, which was Warner Bros.’ now defunct Bethenny in The Real’s five largest markets.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, The Real averaged a 0.8/6, down 38% from its lead-in but up 14% from year-ago time periods. In addition, The Real’s demo rating, at 89% of its household rating, demonstrates that show’s strength among younger viewers.

CBS Television Distribution’s Hot Bench, a new panel judge show created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, also opened Sept. 15 at a 0.8/2 household metered-market average, up 14% from its year-ago time periods and even with its lead-ins. That’s the highest first-day rating for any new court show in three years since CTD’s Swift Justice with Jackie Glass debuted at a 0.8/3 in September 2011. The last court show to premiere with a higher rating than Hot Bench was CTD’s Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, which opened at a 1.3/4. (Grace was replaced by Glass for the show's second and last season.)

Rival court room Entertainment Studios’ Justice with Judge Mablean also debuted on Monday, posting a 0.4/1, unchanged from both year-ago and lead-ins.

Last week’s talk debut, NBCUniversal’s Meredith Vieira, averaged a 1.4/5 in households for its first week, up 8% from last year but off 22% from its lead-ins. In major markets, Meredith’s lead-ins are typically soap operas, which are often viewed on a time-shifted basis.

Among women 25-54, Meredith averaged a 0.5/4 in its first week, equal to year-ago time periods but off 40% compared to its soap opera lead-ins. On Monday (Sept. 15), Meredith improved to a 0.6/4 in the demo. Meredith won its time period for the week in five markets: Sacramento, Portland, Ore., Charlotte, N.C., Baltimore and Birmingham, Ala.

Meredith leads in to NBCU's Steve Harvey on many NBC-owned stations in top markets. Harvey, opening its third season, averaged a 1.7 rating/5 share primary-run weighted metered market household average, during the week of Sept. 8 -12, climbing 21% from both lead-in and year-ago time period averages. Among women 25-54, Harvey averaged a 0.8/5, up 33% from its 0.6/4 lead-in, and up 14% from last year's 0.7/5. 

Week seven of Fox’s test of weekend show Laughs continued to average a 0.4/1, down 50% from lead-in, and down 33% from its August 2013 time periods.

Meanwhile, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael premiered its season at a 2.7 live plus same day household average in the week ended Sept. 7. That’s the show’s second-highest rated season premiere in households since 2007, marking a 4% gain from the previous week and a 17% increase from the same week last year.

The week included Labor Day on Sept. 1, as well as widespread preemptions for coverage of the men’s US Open Tennis finals, Deusche Bank golf, and President Obama’s press conference following the NATO Summit. The week also kicked off Nielsen’s official 2014-15 television season, although most shows premiere later in the month.

CTD’s Dr. Phil, in originals for the final week before its season premiere on Sept. 9, tied with Live at a 2.7, up 8% for the week and 13% for the year.

In third place, NBCU’s Maury and Warner Bros.’ Ellen -- which premiered its new season the following week with a best ever 2.8 metered-market household average, according to Warner Bros. -- each added 6% to tie at a 1.8 with repeats. SPT’s Dr. Oz and NBCU’s Steve Harvey held steady at a 1.5 and 1.4, respectively, with both shows also in repeats.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos strengthened 8% to a 1.3. CTD’s Rachael Ray, prepping for upgrades in top ABC markets, remained at a 1.2. NBCU’s Jerry Springer held steady at a 1.1. CTD’s The Doctors improved 11% to a 1.0, while Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, in its final week of repeats before its season premiere, was flat at a 0.9.

In Wendy's season debut on Monday, Sept. 15, however, the show scored a 1.8/6 household average in the weighted metered markets, according to Debmar-Mercury. That's up 36% from last year. Among women 25-54, the show's premiere scored a 1.6/11 among women 25-54, up 50% from last year and beating all talk competitors, including Dr. Phil, Live and Ellen. Wendy Williams was upgraded in many markets this fall.

SPT’s Queen Latifah, last year’s top-rated first-run rookie and only remaining new show from last year, slipped 11% to a 0.8 while still in reruns.

Meredith’s The Better Show remained at a 0.2, where it has been for 38 of the past 39 weeks.

CTD’s Judge Judy, in repeats, finished the week as syndication’s top show by its widest margin to date, marking its 24th consecutive weekly win with a 6.8, up 3% for the week and 8% for the year.

The rest of the court shows all gained by double digits, led by the season premiere of Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which ballooned 67% to a 2.0, the show’s highest premiere in five seasons.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court added 13% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis also added 13% to a 1.5. MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court picked up 11% to a 1.0 at the start of its second season.

Magazines were mixed, with some benefitting from viewer interest in the Sept. 4 Joan Rivers’ obits and tributes, and others suffering preemptions due to Thursday night football, golf and tennis.

CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight gained 7% from the previous week to a 3.2. CTD’s Inside Edition sank 7% to a 2.5, that show’s lowest rating in more than a year. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was flat at a 1.7. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood surged 23% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which did not air in 36 markets on one or more days during the week, declined 7% to a 1.3. CTD’s The Insider was flat at a 1.2.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation was flat at a 1.0, where it has been 17 times in the last 18 weeks. MGM’s viral video show, RightThisMinute, also was flat at a 1.0. Trifecta’s OK! TV held at a 0.3.

Most game shows declined for the week. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune slid 2% to a 5.5, matching its lowest rating of last season. CTD’s Jeopardy! dipped 4% to a 5.1, its lowest rating in a year. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 4.7. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, in its last week with Cedric the Entertainer as host, eroded 11% to a new series low 1.7, down 26% from last year at this time.  

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ leader The Big Bang Theory was flat at a 5.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family, at the start of its second season in syndication, moved up 9% to a 3.6. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained at a 3.2. Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 13% to a 2.6. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother added 18% to a 2.0. SPT’s Seinfeld, Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and Warner Bros.’ The Middle each spiked 6% to a 1.8, 1.7 and 1.7, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Friends was flat at a 1.5, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill climbed 8% to a 1.4.