As the February sweep drew to a close, Twentieth's Family Guy, Warner Bros.' TMZ and CBS Television Distribution's Jeopardy!, fueled by IBM's Watson, were the big winners. Family Guy was up 25%, TMZ improved 17% and Jeopardy! jumped 16% from last November.
The February sweep ran from February 3 to March 2. It's best compared to November because last February's results are distorted due to NBC's airing of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The Olympics inflated the numbers for adjacent programs, while causing the ratings for competing shows to plummet.
Four out of the five game shows were up sweep to sweep, with Jeopardy!'s 16% jump to a 6.7 sweep average leading the pack. CTD's Wheel of Fortune improved 8% to a 7.8, and remained the syndie leader in households. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire added 5% to a 2.3, while Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud found 6% to advance to a 1.7. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader was the only game show to lose ground, dropping 10% to a 0.9 sweep average.
Talk was up across the board, with six shows showing improvement over November and the rest of the field flat. In the last February sweep for both Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin, CTD's Oprah was flat at a genre-leading 5.6, while Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly gained 12% to a 2.8 for a third-place finish.
CTD's Dr. Phil, the second-highest-rated talk show, grew 3% to a 3.1. Sony's Dr. Oz was flat at a 2.4, tying Warner Bros.' Ellen, which improved 4%. NBC Universal's Maury picked up 5% to a 2.1. CTD's The Doctors saw a healthy 6% rise to a 1.9 and jumped 22% among women 25-54. CTD's Rachael Ray ratcheted up 6% to a 1.7. NBCU's Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos and Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, currently competing in ABC's Dancing with the Stars, all were flat at a 1.4, 1.4 and 1.1, respectively.
Court was mostly steady compared to November. CTD's court leader, Judge Judy, advanced 5% from last November to a 4.6 sweep average. CTD's Judge Joe Brown held steady at a 2.0. Warner Bros.' People's Court was unchanged at a 1.9, while Judge Mathis improved 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court each were flat at a 1.3, while Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro trailed at a 1.0, which was still up 11%.
CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace was the top newcomer in the February sweep and the only freshman to gain compared to November. The rookie champ improved 8% to a 1.4. Sony's Nate Berkus was flat at a 1.0. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics fell 11% to a 0.8. Litton's Judge Karen's Court was unchanged at a 0.6. Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross sank 25% to a 0.3.
NBCU's Access Hollywood Live, a slow roll-out currently airing in 13 markets, jumped 10% over its November time period average, scoring a 1.1 rating/4 share weighted metered market average. It also grew 20% over November among women 18-49 to a 0.6/4.
CTD's Entertainment Tonight remained the top magazine for its 82nd consecutive sweep period, although the show declined 2% from November to a 4.1. CTD's Inside Edition was up 10% to a 3.2. As mentioned, Warner Bros.' TMZ climbed 17% to a 2.1 and sole possession of third place. NBCU's Access Hollywood jumped 5% to a 2.0, while CTD's The Insider and Warner Bros.' Extra held firm at a 1.8 and 1.7, respectively.
Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother gained 9% from November to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine was unchanged at a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns skidded 21% to a 1.1. Warner Bros.' Entourage was flat at a 0.7, while Warner's Curb Your Enthusiasm lost 14% to a 0.6. NBCU's Real Housewives was unchanged at a 0.5.
Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' leader, Two and a Half Men, rose 5% from last November to a 6.0, even though much of television in February was dedicated to coverage of Charlie Sheen's strange interviews and escalating feud with Two and a Half Men Executive Producer Chuck Lorre. In second place, Twentieth's Family Guy leapt 25% to a 4.0. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids each faded 4% to a 2.7 and 2.6, respectively. Sony's Seinfeld upticked 4% to a 2.6. NBCU's The Office gained 9% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill slipped 5% to a 2.1, tying Warner Bros.' George Lopez, which dropped 9% to a 2.1 Warner Bros.' Friends advanced 6% to a 1.9 and CTD's Everybody Hates Chris was flat at a 1.6.
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.
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