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Syndication Ratings: 'Judge Judy' Is Queen of Syndie Season

Judge Judy officially became the queen of syndication and Dr. Phil the king of talk, as the 2011-12 TV season came to an end on Sunday, Aug. 26.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil could finally officially claim the title of top talker with a 2.9 most current (including live plus seven days through the nearest week possible) household average rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

This is the first time in a quarter-century that there's been a season without The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the top-rated talker for almost its entire run, except a brief period in the late nineties when the antics on The Jerry Springer Show took over daytime.

Phil won the weekly talk show race 40 times during the year, and grew 7% over its 2010-11 performance.

In second place, Sony's Dr. Oz posted a 2.7 season most current household average. Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly, now Live! with Kelly and Michael, scored a 2.5. NBCU's conflict talker, Maury, was fourth at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Ellen was in fifth at a 2.3.

CTD's Rachael Ray and The Doctors tied at a 1.6. NBCU's Jerry Springer managed a 1.5. The season's top-rated rookie, Warner Bros.' Anderson, notched a 1.3, tying NBCU's Steve Wilkos. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams came in 11th at a 1.1. Sony's canceled Nate Berkus averaged a 1.0, while Debmar-Mercury's newcomer Jeremy Kyle, renewed for a second season, trailed at a 0.6.

Topping the overall syndie chart, CTD's Judge Judy, which has now been the highest-rated show in first-run syndication for three years in a row, this season also beat out the off-net sitcoms. Judy, a show that airs mostly in double runs in daytime and early fringe time slots, averaged a 7.0 most current rating for the season, up 27% from last season. (Judy's ratings received a boost this season due to Nielsen's change of methodology in April 2011, which counted total audience averages for all shows, whether they air in single or double runs).

CTD's Wheel of Fortune was the season's runner-up at a 6.7 most current season average, while rookie off-net sitcom, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory, came in third at a 6.6.

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.