Coverage of screen legend Elizabeth Taylor's death drove up ratings for the syndicated entertainment magazines, with CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight leading the pack in the week ending March 27.
Stories on Taylor were so popular that the magazines managed to hit or hover at this season's highest levels even though some shows were preempted for March Madness on CBS affiliates and levels of people using television dropped off by nearly three million viewers.
ET, the highest-rated magazine, jumped 8% among households from the prior week to a 4.2, according to Nielsen Media Research. CTD's Inside Edition gained 4% to a 2.9. NBC Universal's Access Hollywood scored a new season high 2.3, the show's strongest performance since February 2010, leaping 10% in homes. Warner Bros.' TMZ added 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Extra clocked its biggest week since March 2010, jumping 12% to a new season high 1.9 in households. The Insider improved 20% among households to a 1.8, but still remained in last place among the magazines for the second consecutive week.
CTD's Judge Judy -- whose star, Judge Judy Sheindlin, which was recently released from the hospital after a brief illness, led daytime for the third week in a row with a 5% increase in homes to a 4.3, and a 38% jump among women 18-34.
CTD's Judge Joe Brown gained 6% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' People's Court was flat at a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis faded 7% to a new season low 1.4. Twentieth's Judge Alex gained 8% to a 1.3, and its Divorce Court rebounded 9% to a 1.2, after dropping to a new season low in the prior frame. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro trailed with an unchanged 0.9.
In talk, CTD's soon-to-conclude Oprah, still in repeats, was flat at its season low 3.4. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly declined 4% to a 2.5. CTD's Dr. Phil, which was preempted in seven metered markets including Los Angeles due to March Madness, managed to rally 14% in households to a 2.4. Sony's Dr. Oz was up 10% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' Ellen rebounded 22% to a 2.2. NBCU's Maury tacked on 5% to a 2.0. CTD's The Doctors surged 13% to a 1.7. CTD's Rachael Ray and NBCU's Jerry Springer were steady at a 1.5 and 1.3, respectively. NBCU's Steve Wilkos eroded 8% to a 1.2. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, now appearing on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, stepped up 33% to tie Wilkos with a 1.2.
Among first-run rookies, CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace held steady at a 1.2. Sony's Nate Berkus climbed 11% to a 1.0. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics was unchanged at a 0.7, tying Litton's Judge Karen's Court, which grew 17% to a 0.7. Further back, Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross was flat at a 0.3.
CTD's Wheel of Fortune led the games but skidded 10% from the prior week to a 6.5. CTD's Jeopardy! climbed 5% to a 5.8. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud each were flat at a 2.3 and 1.7, respectively. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader fell 11% to a new series low 0.8.
Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother declined 8% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine was flat at a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns sank 18% to a new season low 0.9. Warner Bros.' off-HBO Entourage was flat at a 0.7, tying the distributor's Curb Your Enthusiasm, which improved 17%. The off-Bravo Real Housewives was flat at a 0.5.
Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men was up 2% to a 5.4. Twentieth's Family Guy gave back 10% to a 3.7. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids each were down 4% to a 2.5. Sony's Seinfeld rallied 9% to a 2.5. NBCU's The Office added 5% to a 2.3. Twentieth's King of the Hill was unchanged at a 2.1. Warner Bros.' George Lopez lost 5% to a new season low 2.0.
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.
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