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Syndication Ratings: Magazines Move Up With Pandemic Coverage

Warner Bros.’ Extra went all out with breaking coronavirus news every day in the week ended March 15 and was rewarded with the biggest weekly increase among the magazines, jumping 22% to a 1.1 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Although Extra was the only syndicated strip of any type to hit a new season high, the rest of the magazines also turned in strong performances as viewers often gravitated to day-and-date news shows for the latest updates on the outbreak.

CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight rose 11% to a 3.0, matching its season high and leading the magazines for the ninth time in ten weeks, including one tie. CTD’s Inside Edition edged ahead 4% to a 2.9. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood shot up 15% to an eight-week high 1.5, which equaled its best rating of the season. Warner Bros.’ TMZ tacked on 9% to a 1.2.

CTD’s DailyMailTV managed to hold its ground at a 0.8, despite being preempted in several top-20 markets for breaking virus news. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page printed a 0.2 for the 37th consecutive week.

CTD’s Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune inched up 2% to a 6.5 and 6.2, respectively, to take first and second among the games. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud downticked 2% to a 6.0.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask responded with an unchanged 0.5 for a sixth straight week. Among the rookie game shows, Fox’s 25 Words or Less lost 9% to a 1.0. Sony Pictures Television’s off-GSN America Says stayed at a 0.7.

Also in first-run, Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute maintained a 0.8 for the seventh consecutive week.

In daytime, a number of shows were blown out by President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on March 13 as well as various virus task-force briefings throughout the week. The week also marked the beginning of daylight savings time, which tends to pull people away from their TV sets and push ratings down. With coronavirus quarantines settling in across the country and people staying in their houses, those ratings are likely to increase in the coming weeks.

CTD’s season-to-date household ratings leader Judge Judy was penalized 8% to a 5.9 but remained the leading court show for the 1,225th week in a row.

Related: 'Judge Judy' to Wrap After 25 Years. What's Next?

CTD’s Hot Bench aired encore episodes on two days and fell back 5% to a 1.9.

Warner Bros.’ People's Court recovered 8% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and Fox’s Divorce Court remained at a 0.8 and 0.6, respectively. Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence pulled back 20% to a 0.4.

Among the season’s court show newcomers, NBCU’s Judge Jerry was in repeats on all five days but stood pat at a 0.8.

MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court broke even at a 0.5, while Trifecta’s Protection Court settled for a 0.3 for the 26th straight week.

CTD’s Dr. Phil aired reruns on two of the five days and backtracked 13% to a 2.1, but that was still good enough to finish first or tied for first among talkers for the 180th time in the last 184 weeks. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Dr. Phil tied for first with Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres with all three at a 0.8.

Back in households, Live was a close second with a steady 2.0.

Ellen eased 5% to a 1.8. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams weakened 8% to a 1.2. NBCU’s Maury, CTD’s Rachael Ray, NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, CTD’s Dr. Oz, Warner Bros.’ The Real and CTD’s The Doctors all were flat at a 1.1, 1.0, 0.9, 0.9, 0.6 and 0.5, respectively. NBCU’s syndicated version of the out-of-production Jerry Springer spiked 33% to a 0.4.

Related: 'Dr. Oz' Suspends Production After Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Among the freshman talkers, NBCU’s Kelly Clarkson hung tough at a 1.3 despite preemptions, landing behind only Phil, Live and Ellen in sole possession of fourth place among the 14 talkers in households.

Disney’s Tamron Hall climbed 11% to a 1.0 even though it lost its primary run multiple times due to news coverage.

SPT’s Mel Robbins, which will exit the airwaves next season, rebounded 25% to a 0.5.

NBCU’s off-net Dateline darted ahead 9% to a 1.2. NBCU’s off-net scripted procedural Chicago PD stayed put at a 0.9. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol eroded 11% to a new season-low 0.8.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory faded 3% but still led the off-net sitcoms at a 3.1. Disney’s Last Man Standing spurted 5% to a 2.1. Twentieth’s Modern Family strengthened 7% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved up 8% to a 1.4. Disney’s Family Guy stayed at a 1.2, tying SPT’s The Goldbergs, which grew 9% to a 1.2. SPT’s Seinfeld was stable at a 1.0 for a sixth straight week, tying Disney’s Black-ish and Warner Bros.’ Mom, which both motored ahead 11% to a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly both were on par with the prior week’s 0.9. 

Paige Albiniak
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.