Syndication Ratings: Ellen's ‘Idol' Boon

Most of syndication got a Valentine from Nielsen in the week ending Feb. 14
and most shows met or exceeded their best rating levels of the season. 
While winter storms in much of the country kept many viewers indoors, ten of
the top eleven veteran talk shows were up from the week before, with Oprah
as the only talker to decline.

Warne Bros.' Ellen Degeneres was an especially bright spot, hitting a
new all-time series high 2.9 in what was the first full week of the February
sweep.  Of course, Ellen's big number coincided with her first week of
appearances as the fourth judge on American Idol.  Week-to-week Degeneres
gained 12% to 2.9 and grew 26% from last year at this time. 

Elsewhere in talk, CBS Television Distribution's (CTD) Dr. Phil
improved 3% to 3.2.  Disney/ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly added
7% to 3.0.  NBCU's Maury climbed 10% to 2.2.  CTD's The
advanced 5% in households to 2.0 and 17% among W18-34.  CTD's
Rachael Ray jumped 11% to 2.0, with a show featuring Susan Lucci
offering romantic advice for Valentine's Day blooming 22% to 2.2 on Feb.
11.  NBCU's Jerry Springer spiked 8% to 1.4.  Steve
(NBCU) was up 8% to 1.3.  Warner Bros.' Bonnie Hunt
picked up 11% to 1.0.  NBCU's Martha Stewart surged 17% to 0.7,
while leader CTD's Oprah fell 4% to 5.4.

Court shows also got very favorable Nielsen verdicts.  CTD's Judge
was up 4% from the week before to 5.0.  It ranked first among
all syndicated shows with a 7.9 GAA rating.  CTD's Judge Joe Brown
also racked up a 4% increase, hitting a 2.4.  Warner Bros.' People's
was buoyed by 5% to a new season high 2.3.  Warner Bros.' Judge
was up 6% to 1.8.  Twentieth's Judge Alex and
Twentieth's Divorce Court were flat at 1.6 and 1.5,
respectively.  Warner Bros.' Judge Jeannine Pirro scored a new
season-high 1.2, up 9%. 

Among rookies, Sony's Dr. Oz advanced 7% to a new season-high 3.2 in
first-run.  The highest-rated new off-net, NBCU's The Office, was
also up 7% to 3.2, matching its best number yet.  Other new sitcoms
included CTD's Everybody Hates Chris, which was flat at 2.0, and Twentieth's
My Name Is Earl, which added 6% to 1.8.

In first-run, Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and
Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams were unchanged at 1.7 and 1.2,
respectively.  Litton's Street Court hopped 17% to 0.7.

Among magazines, CTD's The Insider scored a new season-high 2.0 with a
5% hike from the week before.  Leader CTD's Entertainment Tonight
was up 2% to 5.0.  The show's ET Weekend saw its rating balloon
8% week-to-week and 40% year-to-year to 2.8.  CTD's Inside Edition
raced ahead 9% to 3.6.  Warner Bros.' TMZ was up 5% to 2.3. 
NBCU's Access Hollywood lost 5% to 2.1.  Warner Bros.' Extra,
which did not air in some big markets due to storm coverage, was up 5% to 2.0.

Game shows were mixed.  CTD's Wheel of Fortune slid 1% to 7.4. 
Jeopardy (CTD) inched up 2% to a new season-high 6.4. 
Disney/ABC's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire got a 4% dividend and
earned a 2.7.  Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was up 7% to
1.5.  NBCU's Deal Or No Deal dropped 8% to 1.1.

Off-net sitcoms were mostly higher.  Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men
was up 4% to a new season-high 5.7.  Twentieth's Family Guy
upticked 3% to 3.6.  Sony's Seinfeld was up 4% to 2.9, tying
Warner Bros.' George Lopez, which leaped 7%.  CTD's Everybody
Loves Raymond
and Twentieth's King of the Hill were flat at 2.8
and 2.4, respectively.  Friends (Warner Bros.') fell 4% to
2.2.  Sony's King of Queens was unchanged at 1.7.  House
of Payne
was up 7% to 1.6.  Frasier was flat at 1.5.