Syndication Ratings: ‘Jennifer Hudson,’ ‘Sherri’ Hold Their Own in National Debut

Jennifer Hudson and Sherri Shepherd are both starring in their own talk shows this fall.
Talk shows hosted by Jennifer Hudson (l.) and Sherri Shepherd debuted last week. (Image credit: Warner Bros./Debmar-Mercury)

Jennifer Hudson and Sherri — syndication’s two major new talk entries — made their debuts on Monday, September 12, and tied at a 0.7 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen. Both shows air on Fox-owned stations in major markets.

Warner Bros.’s Jennifer Hudson took over time periods formerly occupied by Debmar-Mercury’s canceled Nick Cannon in many Fox-owned markets and outperformed that show’s 0.4 debut by 75%. Debmar-Mercury’s Sherri, hosted by Sherri Shepherd, debuted 13% below the show it replaced, Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which opened last year at a 0.8. Last year at this time, the season premiere of Wendy Williams was continually delayed with the host out on medical leave. Williams never returned, leading to a year of guest hosts — including Shepherd — and then to Wendy Williams’s ultimate cancellation.

NBCUniversal’s Karamo, starring Karamo Brown and replacing NBCU’s long-running Maury on many stations across the country, debuted September 19 and tallied a 0.3 rating/1 share primary-run weighted metered market average. The show’s best performance came on WJW Cleveland at 1 p.m. at a 0.9 rating/5 share, an 80% improvement over the show it replaced, Warner Bros.’s concluded The Real.

Also: Old Hands Bring New Stars to Syndication

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan broke a three-week tie with CBS Media Ventures’ Dr. Phil to take top talk honors even though Live dipped 7% to a 1.4. Live has now led the category for 17 straight weeks, including eight ties with Dr. Phil, and 55 times in the past 70 weeks, including 19 ties with Dr. Phil.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live and Phil tied at a 0.5. Coming in at a 0.3 in the demo were JHud and Sherri as well as Disney’s Tamron Hall, NBCU’s Kelly Clarkson, CBS’ Drew Barrymore and CBS’ Rachael Ray.

Back in households, Dr. Phil, which had hit a seven-week high in the prior week, gave back 13% to a second-place 1.3. 

Kelly Clarkson and Drew Barrymore both kicked off their fourth seasons and saw talk’s biggest increases. Kelly Clarkson, which took over the time slots of Warner Bros.’ ended Ellen DeGeneres in many major markets, shot up 29% to a 14-week high 0.9. Drew Barrymore, which is now produced and distributed as two half-hour episodes that can be aired separately or as a full-hour block, doubled its previous rating, increasing 100% from the prior week and 60% from last year at this time to a new series-high 0.8. That’s because Nielsen is now taking the cumulative rating of at least two separate half-hour episodes in each market instead of taking the average of a single episode.

Disney’s Tamron Hall strengthened 17% to a 0.7. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos and CBS’ Rachael Ray each remained at a 0.6, tying recycled episodes of Maury, which were down 14%. NBCU’s Jerry Springer combo, which is composed of previously aired talk and court show episodes starring Springer, sank 25% in its second week to a 0.3.  

‘Jeopardy!’ Reclaims Games Crown

CBS’s Jeopardy! iumped back into the overall syndication and game lead with the premiere of its 39th season on Sept. 12 with a 23% spike to a 4.9. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud came close to making it seven straight wins but slipped 4% to a 4.8. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune, which is paired with Jeopardy! in many markets, moved up 10% to a 4.5. 

Fox First Run’s You Bet Your Life with host Jay Leno improved 14% to a 0.8 while Fox’s 25 Words or Less logged a 0.7 for the 12th straight week. CBS’s game rookie Pictionary, hosted by Jerry O’Connell, premiered on Monday, September 12, and averaged a 0.4, just ahead of Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask, which stayed put at a 0.3 for a second week. 

CBS’ top magazines Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight were buoyed by the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 12 and both advanced 5% to a 2.1 and a 2.0, respectively. NBCU’s Access Hollywood added 14% to a 0.8. Fox’s TMZ fell 14% to a 0.6. Warner Bros.’s Extra, which was preempted by Thursday Night Baseball in Fox markets, slipped 17% to a 0.5. Fox’s Dish Nation notched a 0.2 for the 24th consecutive week. 

Evergreen episodes of CBS’s Judge Judy grew 2% to a 4.3 to lead the courts. CBS’s Hot Bench and Warner Bros.’s People’s Court and Judge Mathis all maintained a 1.2, 0.7 and 0.6, respectively. Fox’s Divorce Court, with new judge Star Jones, recovered 25% to a 0.5. Wrigley Media’s Relative Justice in its sophomore season swelled 33% to a 0.4. Entertainment Studios’ newcomer We the People with Judge Lauren Lake gaveled in with a 0.3 in its debut.

Also debuting in syndication was Trifecta’s new true-crime entry iCrime with Elizabeth Vargas, which broke in at a 0.5. 

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory led the off-network sitcoms even though it backed off 5% to a 1.8. Disney’s Last Man Standing stood pat at a 1.0. Disney’s Modern Family forged ahead 14% to a 0.8. Warner Bros.’s Two and a Half Men and Young Sheldon both stayed at a 0.7. Disney’s Family Guy faded 14% to a 0.6, tying Sony’s The Goldbergs and Seinfeld, each of which held steady. CBS’ newcomer The Neighborhood debuted at a 0.5. Disney’s Black-ish was steady at a 0.4 for the sixth straight week. ▪️

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.