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Syndication Ratings: Games Wilt in Summer Heat

Game shows were the big loser in the week ending Aug. 21 as levels of people using television dropped by nearly 900,000 viewers. Ratings for syndicated shows across the board were weak, with shows mostly in repeats.

None of the games were up week to week. CBS Television Distribution's Jeopardy!, the second-highest-rated game, turned its worst week of the year, sliding to a new season low 4.8, after losing 4% from the prior session. The game leader, CTD's Wheel of Fortune, dipped 2% to a 6.0, but remained in the lead. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud fell 8% to a 2.3, landing in a tie for third place with Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which was flat. Twentieth's departing Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader was unchanged at a last place 1.0.

In daytime, NBCUniversal's Maury continued its summer streak, tying Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly at 2.3. Live, the leader for the past five weeks, was flat, while Maury ticked up 5%. Just a tenth of a point back, CTD's Dr. Phil was steady at a 2.2. Sony's Dr. Oz was flat at a 2.0. CTD's Oprah, about to exit daytime completely, remained at its all-time low 1.9 for the fourth week in a row. CTD's The Doctors spiked 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.' Ellen eroded 7% to a 1.4, tying NBCU's flat Jerry Springer. CTD's Rachael Ray returned 7% to a 1.3. NBCU's Steve Wilkos was unchanged at a 1.2, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams recovered 14% from her series low set in the prior week to a 0.8.

CTD's Judge Judy, syndication's highest-rated show, held firm at a 6.4 rating, up 56% from last year at this time. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown rallied 4% to a 2.7, jumping 35% from last year. Warner Bros.' People's Court sank 5% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Judge Alex gained 14% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis, Twentieth's Divorce Court and Warner Bros.' Judge Jeannine Pirro, wrapping its run, were all flat at a 1.5, 1.5 and 0.8, respectively.

Bucking the overall trend, none of the magazine shows declined. Warner Bros.' TMZ and NBCU's Access Hollywood each improved, growing 6% to a 1.9 and 1.7, respectively. Year to year, TMZ climbed 12% and Access increased 6%. CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight was flat at a 3.3. CTD's Inside Edition tacked on 4% to a 2.7. CTD's The Insider was stable at a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.' flat Extra, which improved 7% over last year.

CTD's Swift Justice, soon to premiere with new judge Jackie Glass, held firm at a 1.5. Sony's Nate Berkus climbed 13% to a 0.9, pulling ahead of Twentieth's already canceled Don't Forget the Lyrics, which slipped 13% to a 0.7. Litton's Judge Karen's Court, also canceled, was flat at a 0.7. Entertainment Studios' America's Court advanced 25% to a new season high 0.5.

Twentieth's Dish Nation, an entertainment news program that Fox-owned stations are testing in select markets for six weeks, averaged a 0.9 rating/2 share in the metered markets for its first five weeks. That's down 36% from its 1.4/3 lead-in and down 50% from its 1.8/4 year-ago time period average. Since the show premiered, it's up 11% among households and flat among the key adult demographics.

Off-net sitcoms were mostly up. Warner Bros.' leader Two and a Half Men was flat from the prior week at a 6.0. Twentieth's Family Guy gained 5% to a 4.5. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids added 6% to a 3.3. Warner Bros.' George Lopez rebounded 23% to a 2.7, tying Sony's Seinfeld, which was steady at a 2.7. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond was flat at a 2.6. NBCU's The Office got a 4% bonus to a 2.5. Twentieth's King of the Hill and That 70s Show each were flat at a 2.3 and 2.2, respectively. Warner Bros.' Friends, now sold for its third cycle, picked up 5% to a 2.1.

Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother improved 7% to a 2.9, remaining atop the new off-cable and off-net strips. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine tumbled 13% to a 1.3, landing in a tie with Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns, which gained 8% to a 1.3.