If any question remained as to who the reigning queen of
daytime is, look no further. CBS Television Distribution's Judge Judy
prevailed over all of syndication in this year's May sweep, which ran April 25
through May 22, with a 6.7 live plus same day household rating, according to
Nielsen Media Research. This is the third May sweep in a row in which Judy has presided over all shows in all
genres -- including Warner Bros.' worthy contender, The Big Bang Theory -- despite airing predominantly in early-fringe
Judy dipped 3% from last May, but still matched its
second-highest May sweep numbers in the show's 17-year history, equaling the
ratings of the next four highest-rated court shows combined.
By comparison, most other court shows were down considerably.
CTD's No. 2 gaveler, Judge Joe Brown, plunged 15%
from last year to a 2.2 and is retiring from the bench. Warner Bros.' People's
Court also tumbled 15% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and
Twentieth's Judge Alex both bucked the downtrend, each turning in a flat
1.4. Twentieth's Divorce Court sank 14% to a 1.2. Entertainment Studio's
America's Court slumped 22% to a 0.7. ES' rookie, Justice for All,
posted a 0.4, while its We the People stumbled 50% to a 0.2 from last
Disney/ABC's Katie prevailed in the fierce freshman
talk battle with a 1.7. NBCU's newcomer, Steve Harvey, kept things close
with a 1.5, but could not overcome Katie's household lead, which the
show held all season long. Among the key daytime demographic of women 25-54,
however, Harvey pulled through with a 0.9 to Katie's 0.8.
The other rookie that will survive into next season, NBCU's Trisha
Goddard, with a much weaker station line-up than the top pair, averaged a
0.6 for the book.
CTD's and Twentieth's better cleared but already cancelled Jeff
Probst and Ricki Lake also each averaged a 0.6.
May's top talker was CTD's Dr. Phil, winning his
fifth consecutive sweep by a margin of 680,000 viewers over its closest talk
rival. Phil averaged a 3.0, off 3% from last May but up 12% among women
25-54 to a first-place 1.9 in the key demo. The heated competition for the
second-place spot in talk ended in a dead heat with Disney/ABC's Live! with
Kelly and Michael tying Warner Bros.' Ellen at a 2.5.
Live!, which airs in lesser-watched morning time
periods, grew 9% from last May, showing the biggest year-to-year improvement of
any top-tier talker. Live! also jumped three ranks from last year, to
second from fifth.
Meanwhile, Ellen, which has turned in a strong
performance throughout its tenth season, emerged even in households compared to
last year, but up 20% from May 2011. Ellen also climbed 7% from last
year among women 25-54 to a 1.6 for sole possession of second place in that
demo behind only Phil.
Live! was third among women 25-54 at a 1.5, up 15%
from last May.
Sony Pictures Television's recently renewed Dr. Oz
finished in fourth place, down two spots from its second place finish last May.
Year to year, Oz declined 15% to a 2.2 from a 2.6 in households.
Most other talkers also dropped compared to May 2012. NBCU's
Maury, which just aired its 2500th episode, slipped 17% to a 2.0. CTD's Rachael
Ray yielded 7% to a 1.4. NBCU's Steve Wilkos was a bright spot in
its sixth season, holding steady at a 1.3, while gaining 13% among women 25-54
to a 0.9 in the demo. NBCU's Jerry Springer dipped 7% to a 1.3, tying
Wilkos. CTD's The Doctors plunged 25% to a 1.2, tying
Debmar-Mercury's recently renewed Wendy Williams, which improved 9%.
Warner Bros.' Anderson Live and Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy
Kyle, both ending their runs, followed with a 0.9 and a 0.4, respectively.
Compared to last May, Anderson was down 36% while Kyle fell 33%.
Meredith's Better, which just joined the ranks of the
nationally rated, earned a 0.2 for the sweep.
Steve Harvey also was a standout among the game
shows. The show that Harvey hosts, Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud,
exploded compared to last year, gaining 50% in households to a 4.5, putting it
in third place in the category. Feud also was the sweep's top game show
among women 25-54, spiking 50% to a 2.4, and beating CTD's two vets, Wheel
of Fortune and Jeopardy!
Wheel remained first in households at a 6.3, down 3%
from last May, but dropped to second place in the demo at a flat 2.3. Jeopardy!
added 4% in households to a 5.8, and gained 10% from last May to a 2.2.
Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire depreciated 4% to a 2.4 in
households, while NBCU's rookie Baggage came in last on the carousel at
In the metered markets, Warner Bros.' new interactive game
show, Let's Ask America, which airs on select Scripps-owned stations,
scored a 1.6 rating/3 share, holding steady with its September premiere week in
household and growing 14% among women 25-54 to a 0.8/3.
Magazines came in mostly lower. Last May, most mags saw
ratings spikes with stories of the life and death of TV icon Dick Clark on the
eve of the sweep.
CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight marked its 91st
consecutive sweep victory, going back to 1990, despite down-ticking 3% from last
May to a 3.5. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition was flat at a 2.9.
Warner Bros.' TMZ eased 5% to a 1.9. NBCU's Access Hollywood gave
back 6% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra , which was widely preempted due
to news coverage of the massive tornado that hit Oklahoma City on May 20 and
21, dipped 7% to a 1.4. CTD's new omg! Insider averaged a 1.4 in its
first May sweep, tying Extra. Twentieth's rookie Dish Nation remained
steady with its season average at a 1.0.
In off-net syndication, year-to-year erosion was
the norm. In its second year in syndication, Warner Bros.' leader The Big
Bang Theory dipped 3% to a 6.4. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, in
its sixth year, deteriorated 18% to a 4.5. Twentieth's Family Guy, also
in its sixth year, faded 11% to a 3.4. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother,
in year three, retreated 12% to a 2.3. Twentieth's King of the Hill, in
year 12, declined 8% to a 2.2. SPT's Seinfeld, in year 18, shrank 13% to
a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends, in year 15, gained 5% to a 2.0 and was the
only top-tier off-net sitcom to gain for the sweep. Finally, CTD's Everybody
Loves Raymond, in year 12, retreated 23% to a 1.7.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.