Syndication Ratings: 'Ellen' Gets Early Holiday Gift

Syndies softened in the week ended Dec. 9, with many shows in repeats as the country headed into the holiday season.

Bucking the downtrend was Warner Bros.' Ellen, which scored its highest ratings since the week of Feb. 8, 2010, nearly three years ago, and moved up to second place among the talkers behind only CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil.

Ellen, which has been rejuvenated in its tenth season, climbed to a 2.8 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up 8% for the week and 12% for the year, marking the biggest year-over-year increase of all the talk shows. In addition, Ellen grew 6% to a first-place 1.8 in the key women 25-54 demographic, beating even typical leader Dr. Phil. Ellen's week of originals featured the kick-off of 12 days of giveaways as well as appearances from celebrities such as Gerard Butler, Drew Barrymore, Glee's Cory Monteith, Extra's Mario Lopez and The Voice's Christina Aguilera.

The top talker, Dr. Phil, averaged a 3.0, down 3% from the prior week and flat compared to last year at the time.

In third place, Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael dipped 4% for the week and 7% for the year to a 2.5. Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz was steady for the week at a 2.4, but down 14% from last year. NBCUniversal's Maury yielded 8% for the week and was off 4% from last year to a 2.2. CTD's Rachael Ray was the only veteran talker besides Ellen to grow from the prior week, advancing 8% to a 1.4 for the week, although dropping 13% from last year.

NBCU's Steve Wilkos fell back 13% for the week to a 1.3, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which declined 7%. CTD's The Doctors dropped 14% for the week to a new season-low 1.2. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams fell 8% to a 1.1. Warner Bros.' Anderson Live! was flat at a 1.0. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle eroded 17% for the week a 0.5.

Disney-ABC's Katie was the only rookie talker to climb from the prior week, adding 6% to a 1.8. NBCU's Steve Harvey fell back 13% from its series-high of the prior week to a 1.3. CTD's Jeff Probst, which also hit a series high in the previous week, was off 13% to a 0.7, tying Twentieth's Ricki Lake, which was flat. NBCU's Trisha retreated one-tenth of a point or 20% to a 0.4.

CTD's Judge Judy reigned supreme over the court shows at a 6.7, easing 4% from the prior week. CTD's Judge JoeBrown held firm at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court weakened 10% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis sank 12% to a 1.5. Twentieth's Judge Alex was flat at a 1.3. Twentieth's Divorce Court dropped 14% to a 1.2. Entertainment Studios' America's Court declined 13% to a new season low 0.7, while ES' Justice for All and We the People both were flat at a 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

All of the magazines, which hit ratings highs in the previous week on coverage of the death of Dallas' Larry Hagman and Lindsay Lohan's legal troubles, dropped back to earth. CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight declined 7% for the week to a 3.8 up 3% for the year. CTD's Inside Edition dipped 3% to a 3.1. NBCU's Access Hollywood slowed 5% to a 1.8, tying Warner Bros.' TMZ, which also fell 5%. Warner Bros.' Extra and CTD's The Insider each dipped 6% to a 1.5, while Twentieth's newcomer Dish Nation trailed with a 0.9, down 10%.

All of the games were down or flat. CTD's Wheel of Fortune faded 4% to a 7.2. CTD's Jeopardy! was flat at a 6.5. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud fell 6% to a 4.6. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was flat at a 2.4, while NBCU's rookie Baggage was tagged with a 8% decline at a 1.1.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory was unchanged at a 7.3, the highest-rated show in syndication in households. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men fell 9% to a 5.2. Twentieth's Family Guy slumped 8% to a 3.7. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother fell 3% to a 2.8. SPT's Seinfeld and Twentieth's King of the Hill both were flat at a 2.4 and 2.2, respectively. Warner Bros.' Friends faltered 9% to a 2.1. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond relinquished 10% to a 1.9.

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.