Syndication Ratings: Embattled ‘Ellen’ Waits for Ratings to Settle

Ellen DeGeneres apologized to viewers in show's season-18 opener. (Image credit: The Ellen DeGeneres Show/YouTube)

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres debuted season 18 on Monday, Sept. 21, beginning with the show’s so-called “apology episode” after a summer of reports on the show’s toxic work environment, and earned a single-day household rating of 1.6. Ellen’s ratings eroded every day after that, ending with a 0.9 on Friday, when new co-executive producer Stephen “Twitch” Boss stepped in as substitute host.

Overall for the week ended Sept. 27, by which most syndies had debuted their new seasons, Ellen averaged a 1.2 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, up 50% from the prior week of repeats, which was the show’s lowest-rated week ever.

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CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil regained the talk lead in the second week of its new season, growing 6% to a 1.9. Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan slipped 11% to a 1.7 after running into several preemptions. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live led with a 0.8.

In fourth place in households, NBCUniversal’s Kelly Clarkson climbed 25% with its second-season premiere to a 1.0, despite heavy preemptions for coverage of the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and of the Kentucky Attorney General’s decision regarding indictments of police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

Clarkson tied NBCU’s Maury, which held steady for an eighth straight week. Fellow NBCU conflict talker Steve Wilkos followed with a 0.9 for the ninth consecutive week. 

Disney’s Tamron Hall, which was just renewed for a third season, held on to all of its second-season premiere rating at a steady 0.8, even though it also was frequently preempted.

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That tied CTD’s Rachael Ray, which fell back 11% to a 0.8 in its second week of season 15 and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which jumped 14% with its season 12 opener.

Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which has been renewed through 2022-23, remained at its series-low 0.6 for the 11th consecutive week

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Warner Bros.’ The Real rose 33% to a 0.4. CTD’s The Doctors stabilized at a series low 0.3 for a second week.

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NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated run of Jerry Springer remained at its series low 0.2 for the third week in a row.

CTD’s rookie Drew Barrymore declined 14% to a 0.6 in its second week on the air, after being preempted at least seven times in the top 25 markets. Among women 25-54, Drew held steady at a 0.3.

CTD’s Judge Judy hit an 11 week high 5.8, adding 2% to lead all of syndication and the courts  for the fifth time in six weeks, including one tie with Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud.

CTD’s Hot Bench, Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis and NBCU’s Judge Jerry all stayed at a 1.7, 1.2, 0.9 and 0.7, respectively. Fox’s Divorce Court fell back 14% to a 0.6. Trifecta’s Protection Court stayed at a 0.3, while MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court did not appear on the Nielsen ranker.

Magazines were lively with extensive next-day coverage of the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and saw all winners and nominees tune in remotely. 

CTD’s Inside Edition led with a 5% gain to a 2.3. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight followed with a steady 2.2. NBCU’s Access Hollywood added 11% to 1.0. Warner Bros.’ TMZ tacked on 13% to a 0.9. Warner Bros.’ Extra, despite being preempted for Monday Night Football in many  markets, gained 17% to a 0.7, tying CTD’s DailyMailTV, which also advanced 17%. 

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Fox’s Dish Nation was unchanged at a 0.3 for the fourth straight week. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page added 100% to a 0.2 from a 0.1.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud led the tightly bunched games at a 5.2, even though it faded 2% to stay just ahead of CTD’s Jeopardy!, which inched up 2% to a 5.1 and CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, which was flat at a 5.0.

Fox’s 25 Words or Less, now in its sophomore season, lost 11% to a 0.8, while Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask was steady at a 0.4.

Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute marshalled a 0.7 for a third consecutive week. 

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory led the off-net sitcoms with a 4% gain to a 2.8. Disney’s Last Man Standing and Modern Family, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men and SPT’s The Goldbergs all stood pat at a 1.8, 1.2, 1.1 and 1.0, respectively. Disney’s Family Guy galloped ahead 11% to a 1.0, tying Goldbergs. SPT’s Seinfeld avoided shrinkage with a steady 0.9, while Warner Bros.’ Mom and Disney’s Black-ish both backed off 13% to a 0.7, tying Warner Bros.’ unchanged Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls, each of which registered a 0.7 for the 12th week in a row.

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.