Syndication Ratings: 'Jeopardy!' Jumps as Final Trebek Episodes Air

'Jeopardy!''s final Alex Trebek-hosted episodes aired Jan. 4-8, 2021.
'Jeopardy!''s final Alex Trebek-hosted episodes aired Jan. 4-8, 2021. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/'Jeopardy!')

Jeopardy! received a parting gift from the late, great Alex Trebek as the show he hosted for 36 years celebrated a 29% increase from the prior week to a new season high 6.6 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

The show aired Trebek’s final five episodes, taped before his death at 80 of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, from Jan. 4-8.

While CBS Media Ventures' Jeopardy! soared, the week ended Jan. 10 was marked by the US Capitol protest and siege on Jan. 6, and coverage of that event preempted many programs in many markets. Cable news coverage of the events at the Capitol also presented much stronger than usual competition.

Trebek’s final week at Jeopardy!’s helm led all syndicated shows with the strip’s biggest household number since the week ended May 3, 2020. 

Also Read: Remembering ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek

CMV’s Wheel of Fortune, which is paired with Jeopardy! in access in most major markets, accelerated 18% to a new season-high 6.0, drafting off of Jeopardy!’s surge. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which had led the game shows for the two previous weeks, fell 4% to a 5.1. 

Further back, Fox’s 25 Words or Less logged a series-low 0.8 for the third time in four weeks. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask answered with an unchanged 0.4 for the fourth time in five weeks.

Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute slowed 14% to a 0.6, matching its series low.

CMV’s Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight led the magazines with Inside Edition edging up 14% to a 2.5, while Entertainment Tonight grew 10% to a 2.3. NBCU’s Access Hollywood, Warner Bros’ TMZ and Extra, CMV’s DailyMailTV and Fox’s Dish Nation all held their ground at 1.0, 0.8, 0.7, 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.

In daytime, besides the news preemptions on Jan. 6, many shows ran into partial preemptions on Jan. 7 for president-elect Biden’s speech on those events, and on Jan. 8 for his remarks on impeaching President Trump. 

That said, Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan stayed in the talk lead for the seventh straight week, including one tie, even though the show gave back 5% from its season high to a 2.0. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live also led at a 0.9.

Back in households, CMV’s second-place Dr. Phil strengthened 6% for the week and 20% over the past two weeks to a 1.8. 

NBCU’s sophomore Kelly Clarkson claimed third place, elevating 11% to a 1.0 and tying conflict talker Maury, which moved down 9% to a 1.0.

Also Read: As TV Evolves, So Does Syndication

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres remained at its series-low 0.9 for the third straight week, with the show in repeats and out of production due to the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles. That put the show down 55% from last year at this time, and in a three-way tie for fifth with CTD’s Rachael Ray, which was unchanged for the ninth straight week, and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which spiked 13%, returning to originals after a long layoff. Ellen returned to original episodes on Jan. 14.

Disney’s Tamron Hall, which was one of the few shows unable to exclude the low-rated Jan. 6 from its average, eased 11% with an all-repeat week to a 0.8.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos weakened 13% to a 0.7, equalling its series low and tying SPT’s Dr. Oz, which was revived 17% from its series low. 

Warner Bros.’ The Real, CTD’s The Doctors and NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated run of Jerry Springer all were on par with their prior week’s 0.4, 0.2 and 0.2, respectively. CMV’s The Doctors stayed at its series low for the fourth consecutive week, while Springer has been at that level for 18 straight weeks.

CTD’s rookie talker Drew Barrymore remained at a 0.5.

CTD’s court leader Judge Judy jumped 10% to a 5.6. Season to date, Judy leads all of syndication in households at a 5.6 compared to a 5.4 for Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud and a 5.3 for Jeopardy!.

CTD’s Hot Bench stayed at a 1.6, while Warner Bros.’ People’s Court remained at a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis dropped 13% to a 0.7, matching its series low. NBCU’s Judge Jerry also equaled its series low with a 25% drop to a 0.6 and tying Fox’s Divorce Court, which settled there for the sixth time in seven weeks. Trifecta’s Protection Court stayed at a 0.3 for the 17th week in a row. 

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory stayed in the off-net sitcom lead at a stable 2.7. Disney’s Last Man Standing stumbled 6% to a 1.7. Disney’s Modern Family forged ahead 8% to a new season-high 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men marshalled a 10% increase to a 1.1. SPT’s The Goldbergs garnered a steady 1.0, tying Disney’s Family Guy, which gained 11%. SPT’s Seinfeld and Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly all stayed put at a 0.8, while Warner Bros.’ Mom skidded 13% to a 0.7, matching its series low.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.