Syndication Ratings: 'Dr. Phil' Takes November

Dr. Phil won its first November sweep in its 11-year history, finally coming out from under Oprah's shadow to definitely claim the talk-show crown.

During the November sweep, which ran Oct. 25 to Nov. 21, CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil averaged a 3.2 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research .That's flat compared to last year, but at an average of more than 4.3 million viewers a day, it's up more than 800,000 viewers a day over the second-place finisher, Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael. Phil also was the reigning talk show among women 25-54, up 6% to a 1.9 in the key daytime demographic.

Live! was down 18% from last year at this time, but with the show feting long-time host Regis Philbin as he made his exit after more than 28 years on the job, that's not unexpected. Warner Bros.' Ellen made a late charge to finish the sweep in third place, adding 4% from last year to a 2.6 in households and 13% to a 1.8 among women 25-54, second to Phil.

Sony's Dr. Oz dropped to fourth place from last November to tie NBCUniversal's Maury, dropping 14% to a 2.4 in households. Maury was steady in households, and led all talkers among both women 18-49 and women 18-34 at a 1.6 and 1.4, respectively. In total viewers, Maury beat Dr. Oz by 24,000 viewers on a per-show average.

In sixth place, Disney-ABC's newcomer Katie averaged a 1.9, and was the only rookie to drop from its debut, down 5% from September.

CTD's Rachael Ray was next in line at a 1.6, down 6% from last year. NBCU's Steve Wilkos grew the most of any talk show, gaining 15% from last November to a 1.5 and tying NBCU's steady Jerry Springer. CTD's The Doctors dipped 7% to a 1.4.

NBCU's rookie Steve Harvey added 8% from its September premiere to a 1.3 in households, and advanced 13% to a 0.9 among women 25-54, one-tenth of a point behind Katie's 1.0 in the key demo.

Warner Bros.' Anderson Live!, which will end its run after this season, gave back 21% to a 1.1. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams weakened 17% to a 1.0. Freshmen CTD's Jeff Probst and Twentieth's Ricki Lake each posted 0.7s, remaining even with their September premieres. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle was flat at a 0.6, and NBCU's new Trisha climbed 25% -- or one-tenth of a ratings point -- from its September debut to a 0.5.

Breakouts due to Superstorm Sandy rendered the sweep 25% shorter than average, with all nationally-cleared syndicated shows broken out of the ratings for the week that included Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Even after that, many syndicated shows were preempted due to coverage of the storm's widespread damage and also of the presidential election, which concluded on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Power outages also were common across the Eastern seaboard, keeping viewers from their TVs. As a result of that difficult month, most syndicated shows declined compared to last November.

CTD's Judge Judy remained the first-run and court leader, holding firm at a 7.2. In a distant second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown dropped 21% year-to year to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' People's Court lost 10% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.6. Twentieth's Judge Alex sank 19% to a 1.3, tying Twentieth's Divorce Court, which fell 13%. Entertainment Studios' America's Court was flat at a 0.9. ES' Justice for All was unchanged from its September premiere at a 0.5, while ES' sophomore court show, We the People, plunged 40% from last November to a 0.3.

Sandy was particularly hard on the access magazines. CTD's Entertainment Tonight won the magazine race for its 89th consecutive sweep, or every sweep since July 1990. Year to year, however, ET down-ticked 3% to a 3.9. CTD's Inside Edition also receded 3% to a second-place 3.1. Warner Bros.' TMZ was off 5% to a 1.9. NBCU's Access Hollywood, which was up significantly last November, gave back 19% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra eased 12% to a 1.5, tying CTD's The Insider, soon to be rebranded omg! Insider, which relinquished 17%. Twentieth's newbie Dish Nation turned in a 0.8, flat from its premiere week.

CTD's Wheel of Fortune held on to the game-show lead, dipping 4% from last November to a 7.1. CTD's Jeopardy! inched up 2% to a 6.3. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud soared 53% to a 4.6 after being upgraded this year to access and prime time periods in about 80% of the country. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire eroded 8% to a 2.3, while NBCU's rookie Baggage was flat from its September debut week at a 1.1.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory, in its second syndicated season, leaped 25% to a 7.4, topping the syndication chart. Conversely, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men slid 16% to a 5.3 in its sixth year in syndication. Twentieth's Family Guy yielded 3% to a 3.8. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother deteriorated 21% to a 2.6. Sony's Seinfeld surrendered 15% to a 2.2 in its eighteenth syndie season. Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends faded 17% to a 2.0. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond also slumped 17% to a 1.9.

The syndicated show that lost the most ground year to year was CTD's late-night dating show, Excused, which tumbled 43% to a 0.4.

Among the shows that are not nationally cleared, Access Hollywood Live averaged a 1.0 rating/4 share in its 11 metered markets, up 11% in rating and 33% in share from last November. In the top market, New York, the show added 25% to a 1.0/4 from a 0.8/3.

Warner Bros.' new interactive game show, Let's Ask America, which airs in seven metered markets and 14 overall, strengthened 13% from its September premiere week to a 1.8/4 for all telecasts during the sweep. With a 0.8/3 average among women 25-54, the show retained 80% of its November 2011 time-period demo rating, which last year was comprised mainly of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. 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.