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Syndication Ratings: 'Dr. Phil' Tops Talkers as Syndies Premiere

Most syndicated shows kicked off their new seasons in the week ended Sept. 18, with CTD's Dr. Phil and Judge Judy dominating their respective talk and court genres.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil kicked off season ten with the show's biggest opening in two years, a 3.9 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up 63% from the prior week, when the show was still in repeats, and up 56% from last year at this time, the largest year to year increase of any talker.

Sony's Dr. Oz also got off to a good start, notching a second-place 2.9, up 61% from the prior week and up 21% from last year at this time. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, which launched Regis Philbin's final season in the prior week came in third, dipping 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' Ellen, which claimed some of Oprah's 4 p.m. slots, improved 53% in its first week of new shows to a 2.3, marking the highest-rated first week in the show's history. NBCUniversal's Maury, still in repeats for the week, sank 4% to a 2.2. CTD's The Doctors and NBCU's Jerry Springer each held steady at a 1.5. NBCU's Steve Wilkos tacked on 8% to a 1.4. CTD's Rachael Ray remained flat at a 1.3. Sony's Nate Berkus picked up 22% to a 1.1. And Debmar-Mercury's Mercury's Wendy Williams improved 43% to a 1.0.

First-run's most highly anticipated newcomer, Warner Bros.' Anderson, had its first week of national ratings reprocessed by Nielsen. In the metered markets, however, Anderson improved 25% over its premiere week to a 1.5 rating/4 share in week two for its primary runs.

Among the rest of the freshman class, CTD's new dating show, Excused, rated a 0.6 in late-night time periods and while talker Entertainment Studios' We the People with Gloria Allred debuted at a 0.4 in daytime slots.

Two more talkers premiered on Sept. 19. Tribune's Bill Cunningham pulled a 0.8/3 for its first week in the metered markets, down 33% from its 1.2/4 lead-in and down 27% from its 1.1/4 year-ago time period averages. Cunningham is cleared on Tribune and Local TV stations, and is not cleared nationally.

Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle rated a 0.6/2 in week one, down 14% from its 0.7/2 lead-in and down 25% from its 0.8/2 year-ago time period average.

CTD's Judge Judy was syndication's top-rated show, improving 8% to a 6.6, the show's best performance in eight weeks. Among the other court rooms, CTD's Judge Joe Brown gained 7% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' People Court fell 5% to a 2.0. Twentieth's Divorce Court was down 11% to a 1.6, tying Twentieth's Judge Alex and Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis, both of which declined 6%. CTD's Swift Justice fell 13% to a 1.3. ES' America's Court with Judge Ross improved 14% to a 0.8.

Among games, CTD's Wheel of Fortune, in third place overall, was flat at a 6.1. CTD's Jeopardy! sank 12% to a 4.6. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud added 8% to a 2.6. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ticked up 4% to a 2.4.

Magazines were the only genre in which every show was up from the previous week. CTD's Entertainment Tonight climbed 6% to a 3.4. CTD's Inside Edition picked up 7% to a 3.0. NBCU's Access Hollywood advanced 5% to a 2.0, the show's best rating in 17 weeks. Warner Bros.' TMZ gained 12% to a 1.9, while Warner Bros.' Extra boasted the largest increase of any magazine, gaining 14% to a 1.6. CTD's The Insider improved 7% to a 1.5.

Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, which remained the top off-net sitcom and second-highest-rated syndie, improved 8% to a 6.4. Twentieth's Family Guy inched up 3% to a 4.0. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother tacked on 3% to a 3.6. Sony's Seinfeld slid 4% to a 2.5, while CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and NBCU's The Office each were flat at a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.3. Warner Bros.' Friends faded 4% to a 2.2, while Carsey-Werner's That 70s Show declined 5% to a 1.8.

Among the rookie off-nets, Sony's ‘Til Death posted a 0.6 in its premiere week. The other three off-net rookie sitcoms premiered during the week of Sept. 19, thus only metered-market ratings are available.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory opened at a 1.7/3 in mostly prime access slots. That rating is lower than many had hoped for, but most are expecting Big Bang's performance to improve as the days grow darker and shorter. NBCU's 30 Rock earned an 0.8/2 in mostly late-fringe time periods, and syndication observers said that rating is on par with expectations. Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, off of FX and cleared in late-fringe slots, opened at a 0.4/1.