Syndication Ratings: 'Judge Judy' Closes Penultimate Season on Top

CBS Television Distribution's Judge Judy
CBS Television Distribution's 'Judge Judy' led all of syndication for 11th straight season (Image credit: CBS Television Distribution)

CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy, going into its last year in first-run syndication, is syndication’s top-rated show in households for the 11th straight year, averaging a full-season 6.2 live plus same day national household ratings average, according to Nielsen. Nielsen’s 2019-20 syndication season officially concluded in the session ending Aug. 30.

The top-three game shows all performed well, with Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud and CTD’s Jeopardy! tying for second place at a 6.0 full-season average, followed by CTD’s Wheel of Fortune at a fourth-place 5.8. Warner Bros.’ off-network sitcom leader The Big Bang Theory came in fifth overall at a far back 3.0 in households, followed by CTD’s magazine leaders Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight at a 2.7 and a 2.6, respectively.

Also Read: Pat Sajak, Vanna White Re-up to Host 'Wheel of Fortune' Through 2023-24 Season

Dr. Phil led talk in households with a 2.2 overall season average and eighth place in overall syndication. Phil has been the highest rated talker every year since Oprah Winfrey ended her show in 2011, including a first-place tie with Disney’s Live with Kelly and Michael in 2015-16.

Coming closest to Phil in first-run were Live with Kelly and Ryan and CTD’s Hot Bench, both of which tied at a 2.0. 

For the week ending Aug. 30, few shows improved thanks to low viewing levels and daytime preemptions for coverage of Gulf Coast hurricanes Laura and Marcos as well as the pandemic. In access, affiliates in West Coast markets also were impacted by coverage of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

As a result, only two talkers in the top ten improved versus the prior week: Disney’s 

Live and Tamron Hall. Live grew 7% to a 1.6, despite being on hiatus with four repackaged and one pre-taped episode. Tamron Hall tallied a 17% increase to a 0.7, even though it only aired one original episode during the week.

Both Hall and NBCU’s freshman talker Kelly Clarkson will kick off their sophomore seasons later this month. 

Phil remained the top talker at a steady 1.9 with reruns on all five days. Phil has now finished first or tied for first 194 times in the past 208 weeks. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live and Phil tied for first in talk at a 0.7. 

Back in households, NBCUniversal’s Maury, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, NBCU’s Kelly Clarkson, CTD’s Rachael Ray, Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz and CTD’s The Doctors all were steady at a 1.0, 0.9, 0.9, 0.8, 0.8, 0.7, 0.7, 0.6 and 0.4, respectively.

Also Read: Dr. Ian Smith Is New Host of CTD’s ‘The Doctors’

Warner Bros.‘ The Real recovered 33% from a series-low 0.3 set in the prior week to a 0.4, tying The Doctors.

NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated version of Jerry Springer stayed at a 0.3 for the 22nd consecutive week, tying SPT’s exiting Mel Robbins, which held at its season low 0.3 for a 13th straight week.

Judge Judy remained at a 5.5 with a week of all repeats, tying Family Feud for the week’s overall lead.

Hot Bench also held at a 1.9 to tie Dr. Phil as daytime’s second-highest rated strip.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis, NBCU’s Judge Jerry, Fox’s Divorce Court, Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence, MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court and Trifecta’s Protection Court all were on par with their prior weeks at a 1.3, 0.8, 0.7, 0.6, 0.4, 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

In access, magazines were mixed. Inside Edition edged ahead 4% to a 2.4. Entertainment Tonight, NBCU’s Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.’ TMZ all stood pat at a 2.1, 0.9 and 0.8, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Extra hung tough at a 0.7, tying CTD’s DailyMailTV, which eased 13%. Both Extra and DailyMailTV experienced preemptions due to coverage of the RNC.

Also Read: homas Roberts Named New Host of CTD’s DailyMailTV 

Trifecta’s Celebrity Page produced a 0.1 for the fifth straight week.

Among game shows, Family Feud inched up 2% to tie Judge Judy at a 5.5. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune upticked 2% to a 4.5 from a season low set in the prior session. CTD’s Jeopardy! rebounded 5% to a 4.1 from a new season low also set in the prior round. 

Fox’s renewed rookie game 25 Words or Less and SPT’s soon-to-end off-GSN America Says remained neck and neck at a 0.9 and 0.8, respectively.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask answered with a 0.5 for the seventh straight week.

Disney’s internet video strip RightThisMinute improved 17% to a 0.7.

NBCU’s off-network true-crime strip Dateline dropped 9% to a 1.0, while its scripted crime procedural ChicagoPD skidded 13% to match its series low at a 0.7.

The Big Bang Theory and Disney’s Last Man Standing both stayed put at a 2.5 and 2.0, respectively, to lead the off-net sitcoms. Disney’s Modern Family advanced 9% to a 1.2. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men maintained a series-low 1.1 for the sixth straight week. SPT’s The Goldbergs stayed at its series-low 1.0 for a fifth straight week, tying Disney’s Family Guy, which gained 11%. SPT’s Seinfeld was steady at a 0.9 for a third consecutive week. Warner Bros.’ Mom and Mike & Molly each were unchanged at a 0.8, tying Disney’s Black-ish, which barrelled ahead 14%.

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.