Skip to main content

Syndication Ratings: ‘Live’ Stays Lively in Otherwise Ho-Hum Christmas Week

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest host syndication's 'Live' and its annual "Home for the Holidays" episode.
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest host syndication's 'Live' and its annual "Home for the Holidays" episode. (Image credit:

Every one of syndication’s top-ten first-run strips -- with the notable exception of Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan -- declined in the preemption-heavy Christmas week ending Dec. 27.

Even though plenty of programs were able to break out and exclude Christmas Day from their weekly ratings averages, repeats were the rule as shows faced preemptions due to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 21 and his end-of-the-year remarks on Dec. 22.

Christmas Day was obliterated by eight-and-a-half hours of NBA basketball on ABC stations and more than eight hours of college and NFL football on Fox affiliates.

Against this backdrop, Live held steady at its season-high 2.1 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, which it first hit in the prior week. Live led the talkers for the fifth week in a row with one tie.

While most other talkers were in repeats, songsters Mariah Carey and Alanis Morrissette joined Live for its annual “Home for the Holidays” episode. The episode clocked a 2.1 individual day rating on Dec. 22.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live also led talk at a 0.8.

In second place, CTD’s Dr. Phil aired repeats all week and declined 21% to a new season-low 1.5 after being heavily preempted.

NBCU’s recently renewed sophomore Kelly Clarkson aired mostly encore episodes but held in third place among the talkers for a second straight week despite declining 17% from its season high to a 1.0.

Also Read: NBCU’s ‘Kelly Clarkson’ Renewed for Two More Seasons

Four talkers tied for fourth. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, which has paused original production due to COVID, dropped 10% to a new season-low 0.9, tying its series low. Disney’s Tamron Hall, which was partially in repeats, also backtracked 10% to a 0.9, as did NBCU’s conflict talker Maury. CTD’s Rachael Ray stayed put at a 0.9 for a seventh straight week.

Debmar-Mercury’s all-repeat week of Wendy Williams weakened 13% to a 0.7, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which also declined 13% and matched its series low.

Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz fell 13% to a 0.6, equallying its series low. Warner Bros.’ The Real retreated 25% to a 0.3, tying its series low. CTD’s The Doctors and NBCU’s out-of- production syndicated run of Jerry Springer both stayed put at series lows of 0.2, with Doctors staying at that level for two weeks and Springer for 16.

CTD’s rookie talker Drew Barrymore, which was almost entirely in reruns and peppered with preemptions, gave back 20% to fall to a 0.4 after seven weeks at a 0.5.

CTD’s Judge Judy eased 5% to a 5.4, topping the court shows every week since its 1996 premiere, and leading all of syndication in households. 

CTD’s Hot Bench sustained a 6% loss to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court skidded 10% to a new series-low 0.9. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved down 13% to a new series-low 0.7, tying NBCU’s Judge Jerry, which was flat for a third straight week. Fox’s Divorce Court sank 17% to a new season-low 0.5, while Trifecta’s Protection Court settled for a 0.3 for the 15th week in a row.

Magazines were mostly lower. CTD’s leader Inside Edition eroded 13% to a 2.1, followed by sister show Entertainment Tonight, which slipped 17% to a new season-low 1.9. NBCU’s Access Hollywood yielded 10% to a 0.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was unchanged at a 0.7. Warner Bros.’ Extra downticked 14% to a 0.6. CTD’s DailyMailTV sagged 17% to a 0.5 and Fox’s Dish Nation served a 0.3 for the 17th straight week.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 2% to lead the games at a 5.2 but overtook last week’s leader, CTD’s Jeopardy!, which slumped 16% to a 4.6 in repeats before airing the final week of episodes featuring iconic host Alex Trebek, who died Nov. 8. CTD’s sister game, Wheel of Fortune, fell 12% to a 4.6 to tie Jeopardy!.

Also Read: Final Trebek Episodes of ‘Jeopardy!’ to Air Jan. 4-8

Fox’s 25 Words or Less recovered 13% from a series low to a 0.9, while Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask tumbled 20% to a 0.4.

Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute fell back 14% to a 0.6, matching its series low.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory fizzled 4% to a 2.4. Disney’s Last Man Standing and Modern Family and Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men all were on par with their prior week’s 1.7, 1.2 and 1.0, respectively. SPT’s The Goldbergs and Disney’s Family Guy both gave away 10% to a 0.9, while SPT’s Seinfeld featured a 13% Festivus increase to a 0.9. Finally, Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly was minus 13% to a 0.7, tying sibling sitcoms 2 Broke Girls and Mom, both of which broke even and Disney’s Black-ish, which added 17%.  

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.