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Syndication Ratings: Few Stand-Outs

Syndication’s already-low summer ratings were further challenged in the week ending July 20 by a presidential press conference and a Major League Baseball All-Star Game that ran well past primetime.

Only two talkers were up from the prior week: CBS’ Dr. Phil and NBC Universal’s Steve Wilkos. Phil hit a 3.8 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, the show’s best ratings in five weeks and a 3% week-to-week and year-to-year improvement. That makes Dr. Phil the only daytime strip to improve over last year at this time. Rookie Wilkos improved 11% to a 1.0, the show’s best number since the week ending May 12, tying it with Twentieth Television’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks, each of which were flat for the week.

CBS’ Oprah remained the top talker, flat at a 4.2. In third place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly was unchanged at a 2.8. NBCU’s Maury dropped 5% to a 1.9. CBS’ Rachael Ray and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, in lockstep, each were off 6% to a 1.6. NBCU’s Jerry Springer lost 8% to a 1.1, tying CBS’ Montel Williams, which was unchanged. NBCU’s Martha also was flat at a 0.8.

Only CBS’ The Insider improved among the magazines, gaining 6% to a 1.9, the show’s highest rating in four weeks. Insider’s best day came July 17, with a story on Tonight Show host Jay Leno’s forced departure May 29, 2009, that sent the show’s ratings up 11% to a 2.0.

CBS’ Entertainment Tonight, the magazine leader, dipped 3% to a 3.7. CBS’ Inside Edition, in second place, was flat at a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was also flat at a 1.9, tying The Insider. NBCU’s Access Hollywood fell 10% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Extra -- which is replacing anchors Mark McGrath and Dayna Devon with Mario Lopez -- was down 6% to a 1.6.

CBS’ Wheel of Fortune gained 2% for the week to a 6.6 and was up 3% over last year at this time. CBS’ Jeopardy! dropped 3% to a 5.6 but improved 8% from last year. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire matched its season-low 2.6, losing 4%. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was up 6% to a 1.8. Program Partners’ Merv Griffin's Crosswords, which is going out of production, and Twentieth’s Temptation were flat at a 0.8 and 0.5, respectively.

CBS’ Judge Judy -- which had to stop production Tuesday due to a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that shook Los Angeles -- continued to lead the courts by a wide margin, even though the show dipped 4% to a 4.5. CBS’ Judge Joe Brown scored its highest ratings since the May sweep, climbing 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was flat at a 2.3. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis gained 6% to a 1.8. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was unchanged at a 1.6. Twentieth’s Judge Alex rebounded 7% from a season-low 1.5 the previous week. Sony’s Judge Hatchett jumped 20% to a 1.2. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court, coming off a season low, climbed 22% to a 1.1. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez, Sony’s Judge David Young and Radar’s Jury Duty each were unchanged at 0.8, 0.8 and 0.3, respectively.

Finally, only Warner Bros.’ George Lopez saw a gain among the off-net sitcoms, jumping 23% to a 3.2 and tying Sony’s Seinfeld. Warner Bros.’ rookie, Two and a Half Men, remained the off-net sitcom leader but fell 9% to a 4.2. Twentieth’s Family Guy dropped 5% to a 3.7. Seinfeld dropped 9% to a new season-low 3.2. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond, in fifth place, fell 6% to a 2.9. Sony’s King of Queens was up 8% to a 2.8, while Warner Bros.’ Friends dipped 4% to a 2.6.