Syndication Ratings: Judge Judy Remains on a Roll

CBS’ Judge Judy, now in its 12th year on the air, remained on a ratings upswing, hitting a 5.6 live-plus-same-day national household rating in the week ending Jan. 27, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That’s the best weekly rating for TV’s top judge since the week ending Nov. 30, 2003, a 10% jump over the same week last year and the biggest gain of any first-run show in syndication. Judge Judy also is up 8% week-to-week.

During the week, the show broke a 6.0 rating for the first time this season, hitting a 6.1 Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Day, a 17% gain from the prior week.

Court shows fared well in general, with several hitting season highs. CBS’ No. 2 gaveller, Judge Joe Brown, held steady at a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court climbed 8% to a new season-high 2.7. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis jumped 4% to a new season-high 2.4. Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Judge Alex tied their previous season-highs 2.1, each increasing 11% and marking Alex’s best rating in 48 weeks.

Sony’s Judge Hatchett, which is ending original production at season’s end, and Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court each were up 8% to a 1.4. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez was flat at a 1.0.

Sony’s rookie, Judge David Young, also matched its season high, improving 22% to a 1.1. Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty was unchanged at a 0.3.

Warner Bros.’ rookie magazine, TMZ, also continued its uphill climb, tying CBS’ The Insider, which was flat, for the first time to hit a 2.5 and a new season high.

CBS’ genre leader, Entertainment Tonight, was unchanged at a 5.2. CBS’ Inside Edition, the lone magazine to decline, dropped 3% to a 3.5. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood matched its season high, gaining 4% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ Extra improved 5% to a 2.1, also tying its season high.

The top three game shows also all hit new season highs. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune gained 4% to an 8.5, while CBS’ Jeopardy! jumped 4% to a 7.0. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire rose 3% to a 3.3.

The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place games all were flat, with Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud at a 2.0, Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords at a 0.8 and Twentieth’s Temptation at a 0.6, respectively.

The rookie talkers improved on the week, with NBCU’s renewed The Steve Wilkos Show showing the biggest gain of any talker, jumping 11% to a 1.0 and tying its series high. Wilkos’ best episode came Jan. 21, when ratings jumped 33% to a 1.2 for a show entitled “I Am a Bad Mom.”

Twentieth’s fellow rookie, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, tied Judge David Young as the top-rated daytime rookie, unchanged at a 1.1.

CBS’ veteran talkers didn’t fare as well as the genre’s rookies, with Oprah falling 12% to a 5.2 and Dr. Phil dropping 6% to a 4.7.

Other talk shows had a better time, with Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly climbing 3% to a 3.2, matching its season high. Warner Bros.’ EllenDeGeneres gained 4% to a 2.4, also tying her season high. Ellen’s best performance came Jan. 25, gaining 17% to a 2.7 for an episode celebrating DeGeneres’ 50th birthday.

CBS’ Rachael Ray also remained at her season-high 2.3 and was one of only two talk shows to be up over the same week last year, growing 5%.

NBC Universal’s Maury jumped 10% to a 2.2. CBS’ Montel Williams, which also will go out of original production after this season, rose 6% to a 1.7. NBCU’s Jerry Springer sprang 8% to a 1.4.

Warner Bros.’ Tyra and NBCU’s Martha each held steady at a 1.2 and 1.1, respectively.

Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men continued to lead the off-net sitcoms, dipping 2% to a 5.5. Fellow rookie, Twentieth’s Family Guy, was up 2% to a 4.7. Sony’s Seinfeld held on to third place, which it took over from CBS’ fellow off-network veteran Everybody Loves Raymond last week, unchanged at a 4.4. Raymond fell 5% to a 4.0.

Sony’s King of Queens climbed 3% to a new season-high 3.5. Warner Bros.’ Friends was flat at a 3.0, tying Warner Bros.’ rookie, George Lopez, which fell 3% to a 3.0.

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.