Syndication Ratings: In Down Week, 'Dr. Phil,' 'Live,' 'Maury,' 'Steve Harvey' Hold Their Own

Only a few talkers managed to hold their own in the tough week ending April 13, which saw many syndicated shows get preempted in favor of news and sports, as well as a continued drop in the levels of people watching television.

CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader, Dr. Phil, held steady at a genre-leading 3.0 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research, up 3% from last year at this time. Dr. Phil also topped daytime’s key women 25-54 demographic, holding at a 1.6 in the demo.

In second place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael dipped 3% to a 2.8 in households, but grew 12% from last year at this time, the most of any talk show.

NBCUniversal’s Maury held at a 1.9 in households, while finishing first among women 18-34 with a 1.1, and tying Dr. Phil for first place among women 18-49 at a 1.2.

NBCU’s sophomore Steve Harvey gave back 11% to a 1.6, but was one of only three talkers to be up from the same week last year, climbing 7%.

Overall, however, it was a tough week for talkers, with no show up compared to the prior week.

Two of the talk shows — Disney/ABC’s Katie and Warner Bros.’ Bethenny, both of which will end their runs after this season — fell to their worst ratings ever. Katie sank 13% to a new series-low 1.3, while Bethenny fell 14% to a new series-low 0.6.

In third place overall, Warner Bros.’ Ellen eroded 8% for the week to a 2.4, equalling its season low and sinking 19% among women 25-54 to a new season-low 1.3 in the demo.

Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz did not run in eight large markets due to NASCAR races that aired Monday, April 7, and slipped 5% to a 1.9, tying Maury for fourth place overall.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos was off 7% to a 1.4. CTD’s Rachael Ray held steady at a 1.3. NBCU’s Jerry Springer and CTD’s The Doctors both eased 8% to a 1.1. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was down 9% to a 1.0, with a second week of repeats, while NBCU’s recently canceled Trisha and Meredith’s The Better Show both were flat at a 0.5 and a 0.2, respectively.

Among the rookies, SPT’s Queen Latifah, the sole survivor among daytime’s freshman field, yielded 8% to a 1.1, while CTD’s The Test remained at a 0.6 for the seventh week in a row.

In late-night, CTD’s newcomer Arsenio Hall retreated 13% to a 0.6.

In court, CTD’s Judge Judy declined 7% from the prior session to a 6.7, but remained the highest-rated show in syndication for the 30th time in the last 33 weeks.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was the number-two gaveler with an unchanged 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court sagged 7% to a 1.4, tying Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, which was flat. Twentieth’s already-canceled Judge Alex skidded 7% to a 1.3, while MGM’s Paternity Court, renewed for a second season, was flat at a 1.0.

Elsewhere, game shows weren’t having much fun. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune slowed 7% from the prior week to a 6.3, that show’s lowest rating in 15 weeks. For the second straight week, CTD’s Jeopardy! just missed breaking Wheel’s hold on the top spot, but also slid 7% to a 6.2.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 2% to a 4.8. Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire faded 5% to a 2.0, that show’s lowest rating since Christmas.

The entertainment magazines were frequently preempted by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, with all losing ground except NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which held steady for the week at a 1.6.

CTD’s leader, Entertainment Tonight, backtracked 3% to a 3.4. CTD’s Inside Edition lost 3% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ slumped 11% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which did not air in 31 markets on one or more days during the week due to sports, eased 7% to a 1.4, while CTD’s The Insider relinquished 7% to a 1.3.

Further down the list, MGM’s RightThisMinute weakened 9% to a 1.0. Twentieth’s Dish Nation deteriorated 10% to a 0.9. Trifecta’s recently canceled America Now and rookie OK! TV both were flat at a 0.3.

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ leader, The Big Bang Theory, softened 3% from the previous week to a 5.8, its lowest rating since December. Twentieth’s newcomer Modern Family fell 5% to a 4.2, its lowest rating since October. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved up 6% to a 3.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy rallied 11% to a 3.1, while its The Cleveland Show climbed 6% to a 1.9. SPT’s Seinfeld sank 5% to a 1.8, tying Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and Warner Bros.’ Friends, both of which were 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.