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Syndication Ratings: ‘Doctors’ Have Ratings Leap

A dozen divisional playoff games on cable proved to be stronger-than-usual competition for some syndicated shows in some markets, but CBS Television Distribution’s (CTD) The Doctors had the hot scalpels anyway, operating with their highest ratings since late-April and overtaking talk rival, Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres for the first time this season in the week ending Oct. 11.

The Doctors grew 6% from the week before and 46% from last year to a 1.9. That marked the largest year-to-year increase of any show in syndication. Top talker CTD’s Oprah managed a 2% uptick to a 5.1 after losing ground for the two weeks following her premiere week. CTD’s Dr. Phil advanced 4% to 2.7 after a visit with the Dr. Phil family sent ratings up 11% to a 3.0 on Oct. 5. Disney/ABC’s Live With Regis and Kelly was flat at 2.4. Ellen slipped 10% to 1.8.  NBCU’s Maury and CTD’s Rachael Ray were unchanged at 1.7 and 1.6, respectively. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams benefitted from a timeslot change following Mo’nique on BET and saw a big 40% increase to a 1.4, with about half of that increase coming from the cable move. NBCU’s Jerry Springer was down 8% to a 1.1, tying Steve Wilkos (NBCU), which was up 10% to 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt and NBCU’s Martha Stewart held steady at 0.8 and 0.6 respectively.

In rookie action, NBCU’s The Office scored its best ratings yet, gaining 4% from the week before to a 2.9, even better after only three weeks on the air the show landed in second place among all syndicated series in the key women 18-34 demo with a 4% improvement to a 2.5.  The only bigger syndication draw in the young female demo is animated series Family Guy, with a 2.8.  Twentieth’s My Name is Earl, CTD’s Everybody Hates Chris and Disney/ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos were all unchanged at 1.7, 1.4, and 0.6 respectively.  Trifecta’s Cold Case Files made a chilly debut on the chart at 0.3.  

In first-run, Sony’s Dr. Oz continued to run roughshod over its rivals, gaining 4% to 2.6. Twentieth’s Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader was a distant second at a flat 1.6. Litton’s Street Court was up 20% to a 0.6.  

CTD’s Judge Joe Brown had the largest increase among court shows, jumping 11% in households to a 2.1 and 25% among the key women 18-49 demo.  Brown also extended his streak as the no. 2 court show in syndication to 562 straight weeks.  Leader, CTD’s Judge Judy remained in front, holding firm at a 4.1. Next in line, Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis were both flat at 1.8 and 1.5, respectively. Twentieth’s Judge Alex and Twentieth’s Divorce Court were both up 8% at 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Judge Jeanine Pirro trailed with a flat 0.9.

Games were all unchanged week-to-week with the exception of
Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which climbed 9% to 1.2. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy (CTD), Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and NBCU’s Deal or No Deal all remained at 6.6, 5.4, 2.3, and 1.1 respectively.  

While every game show was down compared to the same week last year, none of the magazines lost ground year-to-year. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight was No. 1, holding steady at 4.3 and growing 2% from last year. CTD’s Inside Edition was flat at 3.0 and up 11% from last year. NBCU’s Access Hollywood fell 5% to 2.0 but was still up 5% from last year. Warner Bros.’ TMZ and CTD’s the Insider were flat at 1.9 and 1.8 respectively, with TMZ up 6% year-to-year and Insider holding steady with last year. Warner Bros.’ Extra was down 6% from the prior week but still even with last year.

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men and Twentieth’s Family Guy were unchanged at 4.7 and 3.4, respectively. Sony’s Seinfeld gained 4% to 2.6. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond was up 10% to 2.3.  Warner Bros.’ George Lopez dropped 9% to 2.1, tying Twentieth’s King of the Hill, which fell 5% to a 2.1. Sony’s King of Queens sank 20% to a 1.6. CTD's Frasier slipped 7% to a 1.4.  Debmar-Mercury’s House of Payne plunged 29% to 1.2.