Syndication Ratings: ‘Jeopardy!’ Drops Out of Game Lead

'Jeopardy!' was guest-hosted by Katie Couric in the week ended March 21.
'Jeopardy!' was guest-hosted by Katie Couric in the week ended March 21. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/Jeopardy!)

Jeopardy! jumped out of the syndication and game lead in the week ending March 21 as March Madness took hold across the country. 

The big annual NCAA basketball tournament bounced many programs airing on CBS affiliates on March 19, and programs airing on non-CBS affiliates also were faced with much stronger than usual competition. In addition, daylight saving time started on March 14, which usually impacts shows airing in early evening access time periods. 

CBS Media Ventures’s Jeopardy!, with Katie Couric at the podium for a second week, slipped 5% to a 5.3 live plus same day national Nielsen rating, its lowest household rating since the week ended Jan. 10. Couric is the first woman to ever host the game show. 

Jeopardy!, which had led the games and all of syndication for the prior four weeks including one tie with CMV’s Wheel of Fortune, was surpassed in households by Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which held steady at a 5.4 and topped the chart for the first time since the week of Dec. 28, 2020. Feud, which is hosted by Steve Harvey, also continued to lead all of syndication among the key demographic of women 25-54 at a 1.9.

Wheel of Fortune, which is paired with Jeopardy! on ABC owned stations and affiliates in most of the country’s largest markets, slid 11% to a 5.0, its lowest rating since the week of Dec. 21, 2020.

Fox’s 25 Words or Less remained at its series-low 0.7 for a third straight week. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask had no answer, staying at a 0.4 for a fourth consecutive week. 

Meanwhile, internet video show Disney’s Right This Minute maintained a 0.7 for the eighth week in a row.

The magazines all managed to hold their ground against March Madness and the time change. CMV’s dual magazine leaders, Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition, both stayed at a 2.4, while NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood, Warner Bros.’ TMZ and Extra, CMV’s DailyMailTV and Fox’s Dish Nation all held at a 1.0, 0.8, 0.7, 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.

In daytime, talkers were mostly stable, with only four of 14 strips seeing gains: CMV’s newcomer Drew Barrymore, NBCU’s sophomore Kelly Clarkson, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan led the field for a third straight week and has been first or tied for first in talk 23 times in the past 28 weeks. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live again led the genre at a 0.8.

Also Read: Syndication Ratings: 'Live' Extends Talk Lead Among Women for More Than a Year

CMV’s Dr. Phil eased 6% to a 1.6 after losing its primary run in all of the top five and seven of the top ten markets due to college basketball on March 19. 

In third place, NBCU’s Maury was unchanged at a 1.0, tying Ellen, which recovered 11%.

Right behind, Kelly Clarkson climbed 13% to a 0.9, tying Debmar-Mercury’s steady Wendy Williams.

Disney’s sophomore Tamron Hall held at a 0.8, tying CMV’s Rachael Ray, which remained steady for a fourth straight week. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos stayed at its series-low 0.7, tying SPT’s Dr. Oz, which improved 17%.

Warner Bros.’ The Real, CMV’s The Doctors and NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated version of Jerry Springer all were on par with the prior week’s 0.4, 0.3 and 0.2, respectively, with The Doctors delivering a series low for a fourth straight week and Springer staying at its series low for the 28th consecutive week. 

Drew Barrymore, officially renewed for season two, added 20% to a 0.6, tying its second-highest household rating to date and hitting its best number since February. 

Also Read: 'Drew Barrymore' Officially Renewed for Season Two

CMV’s Judge Judy led the courts at a steady 5.2. CMV’s Hot Bench fell back 6% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court declined 11% to a new series-low 0.8. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and NBCU’s renewed Judge Jerry each stood pat at a 0.7. Fox’s Divorce Court settled at a series-low 0.5 for a second straight week. Repeats of Trifecta’s Protection Court remained at a series-low 0.2 for the third week in a row.

Also Read: 'Judge Jerry' Renewed for Season Three by NBCUniversal

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory quieted down 4% to a 2.5 to lead the off-network sitcoms. Disney’s Last Man Standing jumped 6% to a 1.8. Disney’s Family Guy gained 86% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men managed a 1.0 for a fourth straight week. Disney’s Modern Family fell 18% to a new series-low 0.9, tying SPT’s The Goldbergs, which gave back 10%, and SPT’s Seinfeld, which spiked 13%. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls grew 14% to a 0.8. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly and Mom and Disney’s Black-ish all broke even at a 0.7.

Paige Albiniak

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.