Syndication Ratings: 'Judge Judy' Wraps Season on Top

Although the Nielsen syndication season doesn’t officially end until Aug. 26, the verdict is already in: the 2017-18 household ratings champion is CBS Television Distribution’s venerable Judge Judy.

As of the week ending Aug. 12, Judy has opened a mathematically insurmountable lead, averaging a season-to-date 6.9 live plus same day household average, well ahead of anything else in syndication. That score marks the show’s second-largest season-to-date household average in the past four years, the fifth straight year that Judy has been syndication’s top show in households and the ninth straight season that it’s been first-run's top program.

In the week ending Aug. 12, Judy was entirely in repeats but still topped the weekly chart at a steady 6.4, improving 3% from last year at this time.

CTD’s Hot Bench, created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, was mostly in repeats and unchanged at a 2.1, ranking as the third-highest ranked show in daytime behind Judy and CTD’s Dr. Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court climbed 7% to a 1.5, while its Judge Mathis stayed at a 1.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court rebounded 14% to a 0.8. Trifecta’s out-of-production Judge Faith fell 17% to a 0.5, matching its series low.

Dr. Phil, which has now led the field for 101 consecutive weeks with two ties, was not surprisingly the full-season talk leader at a 3.2 season-to-date household average. The show also has been the most-watched talk show every year since CTD’s The Oprah Winfrey Show ended in 2011.

In the session ended Aug. 12, Phil remained at a 2.7, despite being in repeats all week. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.1.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan held steady in households at a 2.0 and rose 13% to a 0.9 to take second place in both households and the key demo. Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show declined 6% in households to a 1.5. NBCU’s talkers Maury, mostly in repeats, and Steve, completely in repeats, both were unchanged at a 1.3 and 1.1, respectively. NBCU’s conflict talker Jerry Springer, which is out of production, recovered 10% to a 1.1, while fellow conflict strip Steve Wilkos tied CTD’s Rachael Ray and SPT’s Dr. Oz, all at a flat 1.0.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, which is nearing the end of its run, strengthened 13% to a 0.9 and was the only program in the genre to outperform last year, improving 13%.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, with production still on summer hiatus, weakened 11% to a new season-low 0.8. CTD’s The Doctors remained stable at a 0.7 for the fifth straight week. Warner Bros.’ The Real regained 20% to a 0.6 and NBCU’s soon-to-end Harry tumbled 17% to a 0.5.

Among the newcomers, CTD’s DailyMailTV was flat at a 0.9 in households and at a 0.5 among women 25-54. Twentieth’s Page Six TV also was flat at a 0.6 in households and a 0.3 in the demo. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask was flat at a 0.5 and 0.2 in the demo. For the seventh straight week, ratings for Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E. W. Scripps, were reprocessed and not available.

Week two of a trial run for the Meredith Vieira-hosted game show 25 Words or Less on Fox stations in nine metered markets scored a 0.6 rating/2 share in the week ended Aug. 19. This was down 14% from its lead-in but even with year-ago time periods. Among women 25-54, the show averaged a 0.3/2 and fell 25% from both lead-in and year-ago.

Also in its second week of a test run on Fox stations in eight metered markets, off-Snapchat dating series Phone Swap recorded a 0.5/2, down 17% from its lead in and off 25% from its year-ago time-period average. The show also called in a 0.3/2 in the key demo, on par with its lead-in and down 25% from last year.

Back in the national ratings, game shows were mixed. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was the highest-rated game of the 2017-18 season with a 6.5 household season-to-date average. Feud also led the category for the week ended Aug. 12, despite dipping 2% to a 6.2.

CTD’s Jeopardy! was even with the prior week at a 5.4. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune faded 2% to a 5.3. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire increased 7% to a 1.6.

Disney-ABC’s viral video show RightThisMinute was unchanged at a 1.4. NBCU’s off-net true-crime strip Dateline remained at a 1.3.

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition ended the season tied for the win among magazines, with both shows averaging a 3.0 in households. For the week, Inside Edition was steady at a 2.8, while Entertainment Tonight also held at a 2.6.

Warner Bros.’ TMZ dropped 8% to a 1.1. NBCU’s Access eased 9% to a 1.0, tying Warner Bros.’ steady Extra. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page popped up 50% from a 0.2 to a 0.3.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory averaged a first-place 4.8 season-to-date household average to lead the off-net sitcoms, but dipped 2% for the week to a 4.0, matching its season low. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing skidded 9% to a 2.1 Twentieth’s Modern Family remained at its series-low 1.9. SPT’s newcomer The Goldbergs was unchanged at a 1.6 for a fifth straight session. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained at a 1.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros. Mike & Molly moved up 8% to a 1.3 while Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and SPT’s Seinfeld all stayed at a 1.1, 1.0 and 1.0, respectively.

Warner Bros.’ rookie Mom remained at a 0.9 for a fifth straight week, while CTD’s newcomer The Game played at a 0.4 for the sixth consecutive contest.

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.