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Syndication Ratings: 'ET' Gains on Big Entertainment News

Not even two big entertainment stories -- the death of TV legend Andy Griffith and the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -- were enough to lift the syndicated entertainment magazines out of their summer slump, with only CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight able to boast a boost in the week ending July 8. That week included the Fourth of July holiday, as well as widespread blackouts across the East Coast that helped keep syndie ratings down.

ET, the magazine leader, hit its best rating since the May sweep, inching up 3% for the week and 6% for the year to a 3.4 live plus same day national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The rest of the magazine pack all were down or flat. CTD's Inside Edition remained at a 2.8 for the sixth week in a row. Warner Bros.' TMZ dove to its lowest rating in 38 weeks, losing 11% to a 1.7. NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood eased 6% from the prior week to a 1.7, but improved 6% from last year. Warner Bros.' Extra fell 7% to a 1.4, tying CTD's The Insider, which was flat.

CTD's Dr. Phil dropped 4% from the prior week, but was still up 14% from last year at this time to a 2.4, good enough to remain the top talker. NBCU's summer favorite, Maury, fell 2% to a 2.3, tying Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly, which was flat, for second place. In fourth place, Sony's Dr. Oz also was flat at a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Ellen, which had dropped to a new season low in the prior week, rebounded 6% to a 1.7. CTD's The Doctors was flat at a 1.5, tying CTD's Rachael Ray and NBCU's Jerry Springer, both of which improved 7%. NBCU's Steve Wilkos was steady at a 1.2, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams declined 18% to a 0.9.

Warner Bros.' Bethenny continued to make its case for a national pick-up with only one week remaining in its six-week, six-market test run. After week five, Bethenny had improved on its lead-ins by 22% and over its year-ago time periods by 57% to a 1.1 rating/3 share. Since the test started on June 11, Bethenny has improved on its July 2011 time periods by 80% among women 25-54 and 100% among women 18-49.
Among the rookie strips, Warner Bros.' Anderson grew 9% from the prior week to a 1.2, which was the best gain among the top-ten talkers. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle and Entertainment Studios' We the People both were unchanged at a 0.5 and 0.4, respectively, while CTD's Excused slipped 17% to a 0.5.

CTD's Judge Judy took over syndication's lead from Warner Bros.' Big Bang Theory, scoring a 6.0, a 2% dip from the prior week. All in all, court was arguably the strongest genre, with only two of seven shows down week to week. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown climbed 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court advanced 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis added 7% to a 1.5. Twentieth's Judge Alex picked up 8% to a 1.4. Twentieth's Divorce Court dropped 8% to a new season-low 1.1, while Entertainment Studios' America's Court dropped 11% to a 0.8.

Games did not fare so well, with three out of four down for the week. CTD's Wheel of Fortune sank to a new season low for the third time in the past four weeks, fading 3% to a 5.6. CTD's Jeopardy! softened 6% to a 4.9. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud fell 6% to a 3.0, while Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire climbed 5% to a 2.3.

The Big Bang Theory fell back 8% to a 5.7 and second place in overall syndication. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men also retreated, declining 6% to a 4.9. Twentieth's Family Guy floundered 12% to a 3.8. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother retreated 23% to a new season low 2.3, tying CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond, which improved 10%. Sony's Seinfeld remained at a 2.2. Twentieth's King of the Hill dropped 13% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends was flat at a 2.0.