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Syndication Ratings: 'Dr. Phil' Leads All Talkers By Large Margin

Dr. Phil secured its spot as syndication's top talker in the week ended Sept. 23, growing 19% from its premiere week to a 3.1 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's the show's best performance since the week of Feb. 27.

In second place, Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael improved 8% in its third week with new cohost Michael Strahan to a 2.6. Warner Bros.' Ellen eased 4% from its best-ever premiere to a 2.4, but still was up 4% for the year. Sony's Dr. Oz declined 4% for the week and 23% for the year to a 2.3, tying NBCUniversal's Maury, which launched its new season during the week. Maury was up 5% from last year at this time.

CTD's Rachael Ray raised the curtain on her seventh season, with First Lady Michelle Obama appearing on her first show, and saw a gain of 23% for the week and 7% for the year, giving Rachael the largest week-to-week and year-to-year improvements of any talker at a 1.6 In Rachael's second week, which is the week ended Sept. 30, Regis Philbin began his run as a frequently appearing special guest.

NBCU's Jerry Springer launched its 22nd season at a 1.4, down 7% from last year at this time. NBCU's Steve Wilkos opened season six steady versus last year at a 1.4, tying Springer. CTD's The Doctors and Warner Bros.' Anderson Live! each were flat in their second weeks at a 1.3 and 1.0, respectively. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams also was unchanged in its second week, tying Anderson at a 1.0, while Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle remained at a 0.5.

Among the rookie talk shows, Disney-ABC's Katie dropped 10% from its 2.0 premiere to a 1.8 in its second week. NBCU's Steve Harvey was the lone freshman talker to gain ground, advancing 8% in its third week to a best-yet 1.3. CTD's Jeff Probst tied Twentieth's Ricki Lake in its second tribal council, holding steady with its premiere-week 0.7. Ricki, whose premiere-week rating was reprocessed by Nielsen, debuted at a 0.7. Ricki also got a new/old executive producer, with veteran Ricki Lake EP Gail Steinberg replacing Lisa Kridos. NBCU's Trisha, cleared mainly on lower-rated independent and CW affiliates, opened at a 0.4.

CTD's Judge Judy continued to reign supreme, climbing 6% in the second week of its 17th season to a 6.7, the highest rating of any show in first-run syndication. CTD's Judge Joe Brown and Warner Bros.' People's Court each were flat at a 2.4 and 1.8, respectively. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis eroded 7% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth's Judge Alex, which was even for the week. Twentieth's Divorce Court declined 7% to a 1.3. Entertainment Studios' America's Court dropped 10% to a 0.9, while its new entry, Justice for All with Cristina Perez, bowed at a modest 0.5. ES' We the People averaged a 0.2, after being reprocessed by Nielsen for the first two weeks of its season.

CTD's Entertainment Tonight rose 9% from the prior session to a 3.6, its highest rating in eight weeks, to lead a solid magazine genre in which every show was steady or higher. CTD's Inside Edition saw a 4% uptick to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' TMZ, NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' Extra all were on par with the previous frame at a 1.9, 1.7, and 1.5, respectively. CTD's The Insider spiked 8% to a 1.4, and newcomer Twentieth's Dish Nation was flat at a 0.8 in its second outing.

CTD's Wheel of Fortune ruled the game shows, opening its 30th season with a 6.3, fading 5% from last year at this time. CTD's Jeopardy! buzzed in with a 5.6 for its 29th season premiere, up 4% from last year. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud added 3% to hit a 4.0 for the first time, and with better clearances, outperformed the same week last year by 43%. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire appreciated 10% to a 2.2. NBCU's freshman, Baggage, opened at a 1.1.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory tacked on 8% from the prior week to top the syndication chart at a 7.0. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, Twentieth's Family Guy and Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother all were unchanged at a 4.7, 3.7 and 2.5, respectively. Sony's Seinfeld increased 5% to a 2.2. Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Friends fell 5% to a 1.9. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond retreated 5% to a 1.8.