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Syndication Ratings: Magazines Stay on Top With Ongoing Coverage of Cosby Scandal

As the November sweep wound down and TV entered the holiday season, access magazines continued to get a boost from the unfolding Bill Cosby scandal, in which at least two dozen women have come forward to accuse the former TV icon of sexual assault.

In the week ending Dec. 7, CBS Television Distribution’s magazine leader Entertainment Tonight advanced 17% from the prior week to a 3.5 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. CTD’s Inside Edition gained 11% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ TMZ added 12% to a 1.9. NBCU’s Access Hollywood saw the genre’s largest increases, improving 20% for the week and 13% for the year to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which had been the only magazine not to decline in the previous week, held steady at its season high 1.6. CTD’s The Insider gained 18% to a 1.3.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation climbed 11% to a 1.0 and Trifecta’s OK! TV was flat at a 0.2.

Elsewhere in access, game shows rebounded after declining in the prior week, when they all included the low-rated long Thanksgiving weekend in their weekly averages.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune rolled to a 7.1, up 16% from the prior week but down 3% from last year at this time. Wheel was syndication’s overall household leader for the week. CTD’s Jeopardy! zoomed up 21% for the week and 11% from last year to a 6.8. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud finished 16% higher for the week and 34% for the year to a 5.9. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was flat at a 1.8, and down 18% from the same week last year.

MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute picked up 13% to a 1.7.

In daytime, shows in the plus column were few and far between, with only three veteran talkers in the top 12 improving from the prior week. Sony Pictures Television’s Queen Latifah, nearing the end of its run, was the genre’s most improved, growing 10% to a 1.1. The other talkers gaining ground were NBC’s Steve Harvey, which moved into fourth place overall after spiking 6% to a 1.9, and SPT’s Dr. Oz, which added 7% for the week and 15% from this week last year, the most annual growth of any talk show, to a 1.5.

At the top of talk list, CTD's Dr. Phil, with the November sweep behind it, dipped 6% to a 3.2. Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael eased 3% to a 3.1, but finished first among women 25-54 at a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Ellen was flat at a 2.9.

NBCU’s Maury slipped 10% to a 1.8. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was flat at a 1.6. CTD’s Rachael Ray relinquished 13% after hitting a new season high at the end of the sweep, and landed at a 1.4. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos was off 7% to a 1.3. NBCU’s Jerry Springer backtracked 15% to a 1.1, tying Queen Latifah and CTD’s The Doctors, which gave back 8% after hitting a new season high in the prior week. Meredith’s The Better Show improved 100%, or one-tenth of a ratings point, to a 0.2.

In court, CTD’s Judge Judy dipped 1% from the prior week to a 7.0, and was the top-rated gaveled for the 950th week in a row. Judy was one-tenth of a point behind Wheel of Fortune for the overall syndication lead.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was flat at a 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court strengthened 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved up 8% to a 1.4, while MGM’s sophomore Paternity Court climbed 8% to a 1.3.

Among the rookies, CTD’s now-renewed Hot Bench continued to set the pace with a 7% gain to a 1.6 in households. Hot Bench tied for first with Warner Bros.’ The Real among women 25-54 at a 0.8. NBCU’s Meredith Vieira, also renewed for season two, held steady at a 1.2, tying Debmar-Mercury’s unchanged Celebrity Name Game. The Real recovered 11% from its season low in the prior week to hit a 1.0, where it’s been for nine of the past ten weeks. Trifecta’s Judge Faith regained 17% to a 0.7.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory bounced back 15% to lead the off-net sitcoms with a 6.0 after a steep drop in the prior frame. Twentieth’s Modern Family rallied 14% to a 4.1. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men picked up 3% to a 3.0. Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 4% to a 2.5. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother fell 4% to a 2.3, tying Warner Bros.’ rookie, Mike & Molly, which gained 10%. SPT’s Seinfeld stayed at a 1.9. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show sagged 6% to a 1.7, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill and Warner Bros.’ The Middle both were flat at a 1.5 and 1.4, respectively.