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Syndication Ratings: 'Hot Bench' Hits Series High

CBS Television Distribution’s aptly named Hot Bench hit a new series high in the week ended May 17, which included the third week of the May sweep, running April 23 through May 20.

The hot rookie court show, created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, added 5% for the week to climb to a 2.1 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. With that number, the show cracked daytime’s top five for the first time.

Meanwhile CTD’s Judge Judy rose 3% to a 6.7, tying CTD’s Wheel of Fortune for the overall syndication lead. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was unchanged at a 1.7. Twentieth’s Divorce Court advanced 14% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court and Trifecta’s Judge Faith all were flat at a 1.3, 1.2 and 0.8, respectively.

In access, CTD’s Entertainment Tonight was unchanged at a 3.1 and was tied for first place in the genre for the first time in many years by sister show Inside Edition, which was up 3%. Warner Bros.’ TMZ and NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood held steady at a 1.9 and 1.6, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Extra gained the most in the category, adding 8% to a 1.4. CTD’s The Insider remained at a 1.2. Twentieth’s Dish Nation and Trifecta’s OK! TV were flat at a 1.1 and a 0.2, respectively, for the fifth consecutive week.

Elsewhere in access, most game shows played well. Wheel led the pack, accelerating 5% to a 6.7. CTD’s Jeopardy! gained 7% to a 6.5. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 5.9 but up 13% from last year at this time, making it the category’s only game to show an annual increase. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire remained at its all-time low 1.6 for the fourth time in five weeks and lost 27% from last year at this time. Debmar-Mercury’s rookie Celebrity Name Game picked up 8% to a 1.4.

Meanwhile, MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute was unchanged at a 1.4 for the fourth straight week.

In daytime, CTD’s Dr. Phil led the talkers for the 18th straight week including two ties, although the show dipped 3% to a 3.2 in households. Among women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.5.

In second place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael was steady at a 2.8 in households. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres remained in third with a 4% gain to a 2.5. NBCU’s Maury moved up 5% to a 2.0, while NBCU’s Steve Harvey was steady at a 1.8, rounding out the top-five talk shows. 

Among women 25-54, Maury was the number-two talker for the second straight week with a 1.4, behind only leader Dr. Phil. Live and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams tied for third at a 1.3 in the key demo, followed by Ellen at a 1.2.

Among households, Wendy Williams added 6% to a 1.7. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos had the largest increase among talkers, surging 15% to a 1.5, that show’s best ratings since the week of Feb. 23. NBCU’s long-running Jerry Springer spiked 8% to a 1.4 and climbed 17% from last year, talk’s biggest annual increase. CTD’s Rachael Ray rallied 8% to a 1.3, tying SPT’s Dr. Oz, which remained at its series low 1.3 and dropped 32% from last year at this time.

Warner Bros.’ The Real retreated 9% to a 1.0, tying NBCU’s Meredith Vieira and CTD’s The Doctors, both of which held steady, although The Doctors added 25% among women 25-54 to a 0.5. The Real’s executive producer, Sallyann Salsano, is stepping down as showrunner for season two and will remain as a consultant while running her production company, 495 Productions.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory remained the off-net leader at an unchanged 5.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family was flat at a 3.5. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men added 7% to a 2.9. Twentieth’s Family Guy faded 15% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.’ newcomer Mike & Molly fell 4% to a 2.2, tying Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother, which moved up 10% to a 2.2. SPT’s Seinfeld stayed at a 2.0. Warner Bros.’ The Middle perked up 6% to a 1.7, while Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and King of the Hill each dropped 6% to a 1.6 and 1.5, respectively.

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.