Syndication Ratings: ‘Judge Judy’ Takes Advantage of 'Jeopardy!''s Holzhauer Break to Reclaim Lead

Without superstar player James Holzhauer, CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy! fell back to earth in the week ended May 12 allowing CTD’s Judge Judy to reclaim the syndication lead in the second full week of the May sweep.

Jeopardy! had led the household ratings for three straight weeks as Holzhauer racked up nearly $1.7 million while winning 22 consecutive games through May 3, but episodes featuring the professional gambler were halted from May 6-17 while a previously scheduled teachers’ tournament aired. 

Without Holzhauer, Jeopardy! dropped 27% from a 14-year high 8.3 live-plus-same-day household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research, to a slightly below average 6.1 for the current week. That placed Jeopardy! well behind Judge Judy’s 7.0 but was still good enough for the game lead, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud at an unchanged 6.1.

Holzhauer returned Monday, May 20, claiming his 23rd straight game and pushing his total winnings to almost $1.8 million in the final week of the sweep, which runs April 25 - May 22.

Among the other games, CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, which is paired with Jeopardy! in most large markets, skidded 8% to a 5.9, while Disney’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which will end its run after this season, maintained a 1.6 for the third straight week. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask was unchanged at a 0.5 for the ninth straight week.

Related: 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' to Conclude After This Season

Disney’s renewed viral video show RightThisMinute sped up 8% to a 1.3.

Meanwhile, Judy, the season-to-date syndication leader, retook first place in the household ratings for the 41st time in 44 weeks, with four ties, despite a 3% dip to a 7.0.

CTD’s Hot Bench, the only court show to move higher, rose 5% to a four-week high 2.3 and ranked as daytime’s third-highest show behind Judy and CTD’s talk-show leader Dr. Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court sagged 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and Twentieth’s Divorce Court were both flat at a 1.0 and 0.7, respectively.

Dr. Phil slipped 7% to a 2.7 but still led the talkers for a 140th consecutive week with five ties, making it almost three years as syndication’s top talker. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil again led with a 1.1.

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan rallied 5% to a 2.2, extending its run of second-place finishes to 11 straight weeks.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres stayed at a 2.0. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams climbed 7% to match its season-high 1.5 for the fifth time in ten weeks. NBCU’s Maury, cancelled Steve and Steve Wilkos, CTD’s Rachael Ray and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz all remained at a 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, 1.0 and 1.0, respectively.

Warner Bros.’ The Real, CTD’s The Doctors, Disney’s Pickler & Ben and NBCU’s out-of-production Jerry Springer all were flat at a 0.7, 0.6, 0.4 and 0.4, respectively. Pickler & Ben, which is produced by E. W. Scripps, was steady for a 16th straight week, while syndicated Springer repeats marked 35th consecutive weeks — or the entire season — at that level.

On the freshman front, CTD’s canceled Face the Truth stayed at a 0.7 for the fourth straight week, while Debmar-Mercury’s renewed Caught in Providence softened 17% to a 0.5.

Magazines were largely steady, with CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and InsideEdition, Warner Bros.’ TMZ, and NBCU’s Access all holding at a 2.8, 2.7, 1.3, 1.2, respectively.

Warner Bros.’ Extra was the only magazine to show gains with a 10% spurt to a five-week high 1.1.

Related: Billy Bush to Host Rebranded 'ExtraExtra'

CTD’s renewed sophomore, DailyMailTV, gave back 10% to a 0.9. Twentieth’s canceled Page Six TV and Trifecta’s Celebrity Page each remained at a 0.6 and 0.2, respectively.

Elsewhere, NBCU’s Dateline declined 14% to a 1.2 to lead the off-network true-crime series.

SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol dropped 9% to a 1.0. Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files was unchanged at a 0.3.

NBCU’s scripted police procedural Chicago PD added 11% to a 1.0.

Most of the off-net sitcoms were flat for the week. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory, which ended its primetime run on CBS on Thursday, May 16, and Twentieth’s Last Man Standing both were steady in first and second at a 4.3 and 2.0, respectively. Twentieth’s Modern Family was the category’s exception, sprinting 6% to a 1.8. SPT’s The Goldbergs, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, Twentieth’s Family Guy, Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly and Disney’s Black-ish all were unchanged at a 1.4, 1.4, 1.2, 1.1 and 1.1, respectively, while Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls stood pat at a 1.0 for the 16th straight week, tying SPT’s Seinfeld, which held steady for a tenth consecutive week.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.