Syndication Ratings: 'Judge Judy' Leads All Shows in November 2016 Sweep

November was marked by one of the most contentious elections in American history as well as a historic World Series, and preemptions and coverage related to both events made it challenging for syndicated series to improve their performances compared to last year.

Still, some shows managed to show gains in the November 2016 sweeps.

CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy was syndication’s top-rated show of the sweep, taking top honors for the ninth sweep out of the past 11. Judy clocked a 7.2 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research, off 5% from the 2015 November sweep but equaling its third-best November performance since 2007.

Judy also ended the sweep, which ran from Oct. 27 through Nov. 23, on a high note, hitting a 7.5 in the sweep’s final week. Judy’s rating equaled nearly the total of the other five nationally-rated court shows combined.

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CTD’s Hot Bench, created by Judge Judy star Judy Sheindlin, came in second among the courts at a 2.5 and was the only legal strip to outperform last November, moving up 4%. HotBench also ended up in a three-way tie for third place in daytime with Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, behind Judy and CTD’s talk leader Dr. Phil.

All of the other court shows dropped by double digits compared to last year. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court fell 11% to a 1.7 household sweep average. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis skidded 13% to a 1.3. Twentieth’s Divorce Court tumbled 23% to a 1.0. Trifecta’s Judge Faith faded 11% to a 0.8.

Dr. Phil led the talkers at a 3.6, the show’s 15th consecutive sweep win. Up 6% from last November, Phil was one of only two talkers to improve year to year. The other was Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, which in its sophomore season added 11% from last November to a 1.0. Dr. Phil also led talk among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 with a 1.6.

Live with Kelly averaged a 2.5 in households for the sweep, down 11% from last year at this time, tying Ellen, which fell 7% from last year.

NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey, which will be relaunched as a new celebrity-focused show produced by WME-IMG in Los Angeles next season, sank 11% to a 1.6, tying NBCU’s Maury, which slumped 6%. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams weakened 12% to a 1.5. 

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NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, CTD’s Rachael Ray and NBCU’s Jerry Springer all were steady compared to last year at a 1.4, 1.4 and 1.3, respectively.

NBCU’s Harry, this year’s sole new first-run strip, averaged a 1.2 in its first November sweep, tying SPT’s Dr. Oz. Oz declined 8% in its eighth season. Harry is moving from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Fox-owned stations in four top markets.

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CTD’s The Doctors fell 10% to a 0.9, tying Warner Bros.’ The Real, which retreated 18% from last year.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, starring Harvey, led the games, growing 5% compared to last year to a 6.7 and coming in second in households in overall syndication to only Judge Judy.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune skidded 11% to a 6.6 and fell into second place among the games after leading them in last year’s November sweep. CTD’s Jeopardy!, which last year was second among the games, sagged 9% to a third-place 5.9. 

Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire leaped 23% to a 1.6, while Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game added 8% to a 1.3, but will still end its run after this season, the show’s third.

Disney-ABC’s viral video show RightThisMinute, which is paired with Millionaire on ABC owned stations in several top markets, fast-forwarded 36% to a 1.5. 

Access magazines ran into preemptions, with only CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and its sister show The Insider steady compared to last year. ET led the magazines for the 104th consecutive sweep, dating back to 1990, with a 3.3, steady compared to last year.

CTD’s Inside Edition softened 6% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ eroded 11% to a 1.6. NBCU’s Access Hollywood, in its first sweep without longtime host Billy Bush, dropped 18% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Extra eased 13% to a 1.3 after getting hit with lots of preemptions. CTD’s The Insider held firm at a 1.2. 

Twentieth’s Dish Nation dropped 20% to a 0.8. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page, which took over for OK! TV in March, averaged its typical 0.3. 

Off-network sitcoms saw mostly double-digit percentages compared to last November, with all shows down year to year.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory remained the top off-net sitcom in its sixth November sweep, although the show dropped 13% to a 5.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family faltered 18% to a 2.8 in season four. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved down 11% to a 2.4 in its tenth season. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 5% to a 2.0, also in its tenth year. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly fell 10% to a 1.9 in its third season. 

Twentieth’s Last Man Standing drew a 1.8 in its first November sweep, taking sixth place overall and growing 29% since its premiere-week debut in September.  

Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls receded 15% to a 1.7 in its sophomore season. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother tumbled 24% in year seven to a 1.3, tying Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show, which backtracked 13% in season four to a 1.3. SPT’s Seinfeld sank 33% to a 1.2 in season 22, tying Twentieth’s King of the Hill, which declined 14% in year 16.

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.