Syndication Ratings: 'Dr. Phil' Widens Talk Show Lead With Knight Exclusive

Dr. Phil saw its audience spike due in large part to its exclusive with Michelle Knight, which averaged more than 5.5 million viewers on Nov. 5 and 6.

The program, featuring the Cleveland kidnapping victim who miraculously survived seven years of abusive captivity, was the standout in the session ending Nov. 10, which including the first full week of the November sweep.

The strip, hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw, opened up its widest lead of the season over the talk field and had the largest week-to-week increase of any talker, surging 16% to a 3.6, its highest rating since the week of Sept. 12, 2011. That was the week that included McGraw's two-park exclusive with the parents of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her daughter with 2011. Among women 25-54, Phil surged 25% to a first-place 2.1 demo rating.

Ellen DeGeneres, edged into second place ahead of Live! with Kelly and Michael, added 3% to a new series-high 3.0 in households. Kelly and Michael receded 7% to a 2.8, after getting a huge boost for its annual Halloween show in the prior session. Dr. Oz maintained its season -high 2.2 for a second straight week. Maury jumped 5% to a 2.0, its best rating since the week of Oct. 14, while Katie was unchanged at a 1.8.

Steve Harvey held steady at his series-high 1.8 tying Katie for the sixth consecutive week and improving from last year at this time. Steve Wilkos, which will mark his 1,000 episode on Nov. 22, strengthened 8% to a new season-high 1.4, tying a steady Rachel Ray and Wendy Williams, which was flat at a 1.4 for the fourth week in a row, but still up 40% from the same week last year.

Both Ray and Williams remained at their previous season highs.

The Doctors drew a healthy 9% to a 1.2, tying a steady Jerry Springer, with both shows matching their prior season highs while Trisha and The Better Show were unchanged at 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.

Queen Latifah, which may have been hurt by Election Day coverage and preemptions in several markets, posted a 1.0 and was the No. 1 talk newcomer for the seventh time this season. The show was reprocessed due to an apparent Nielsen undercount in the week before. Fellow freshman Bethenny held firm at her season-high 0.9 in HH, and was tops among rookies in women 25-54 with a 0.7 demo rating, which tied vet Rachel Ray — among others — and gained 17% from last year's time period to a 0.7 rating/5 share average in the demo.

Further back, The Test was flat at a 0.6 in households, while in late night Arsenio Hall stayed up at a 0.7 for the fifth straight week under new executive producer Eric Pankowski.

Court room leader Judge Judy was the highest rated show in syndication for the 11th consecutive week with a new season high 7.4, up 3% from the week before. Peoples' Court was a distant second among the gavelers with a flat 1.8. Judge Mathis moved ahead 7% to a new season high 1.6, tying Judge Alex, which was unchanged at a 1.6. Divorce Court sank 6% to a 1.5 while newbie Paternity Court trailed with a 0.9, which was up 13%.

In access, most magazines continued their upward momentum, with the majority up from last year. Leader Entertainment Tonight notched a new season-high 3.9, up 3% both week-to-week and year to year. Inside Edition was flat at a 3.0, but down 3% from a year ago. TMZ tacked on 6% from the week before to a 1.9, but dropped 5% from last year. Access Hollywood remained at its season-high 1.8 and advanced 13% from last year. Extra had the best week-to-week performance and tied for the best year to year growth of any top five magazine, climbing 13% from the previous session to a 1.7 and also improving 13% from last year at this time. omg! Insider held steady at a 1.5 and rose 7% from last year.

Further down the magazine rack, RightThisMinute was up 10% to a new season high 1.1. Sophomore Dish Nation recovered 11% to a 1.0 and jumped 25% from last year. America Now was unchanged at a 0.3 for the ninth week in a row and rookie OK! TV remained mired at a 0.2 for the 10th straight session.

Elsewhere in access, most game shows were solid after showing strength in the pervious round. Leader Wheel of Fortune was flat week to week at a 7.2. Jeopardy! picked up 3% to a new season-high 6.5. Family Feud, with host Steve Harvey, remained hot, forging ahead at 4% to a new season best 5.0 and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was steady at a 2.2, matching its season high.

In offnet syndication, Modern Family continued to head the new sitcom list, inching up 2% to a new season high 4.6. The animated Cleveland Show rallied 5% to a 2.0. The Middle was 7% lower at a 1.4 while Community, which does not count its cable run in its syndie ratings, was steady at a 0.4.

Among the vet laughers, Big Bang Theory made some noise, shooting up 10% to a new season high 6.5. Two and a Half Men picked up 3% to a 3.8. Family Guy gained 3% to a 3.0. How I Met Your Mother moved up 5% to a 2.2. King of the Hill rose 6% to a 1.8, tying Friends, which finished 13% higher at a 1.8, while Seinfeld slipped 6% to a 1.6.