Syndication Ratings: March Madness, Daylight Saving Takes Toll

Daylight saving time kicked in during the week ending March 20, resulting in lower levels of people using television and lower ratings. The NCAA’s annual basketball tournament, known as March Madness, also heavily penalized shows cleared on CBS-owned stations but also equaled stronger than usual competition for shows airing on other outlets. Overall, preemptions hit hardest shows that air in access and in some cases, early fringe.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 3% to a 6.4, but beat CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune for first place among games. Wheel fell 14% to a second-place 6.0, with the show feeling the effects of March Madness. CTD’s Jeopardy! was similarly affected, eroding 11% to a 5.7. 

Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game and Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire were both flat at a 1.3, although compared to last year at this time, Name Game lost 7%, while Millionaire was down 28%, the biggest drop of any first-run strip.

MGM’s viral video show RightThisMinute remained at a 1.1 for a third consecutive week, although it weakened 21% from last year at this time.

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight, airing in many CBS markets across the country, was steady for the week at a 3.3, even with preemptions for March Madness. CTD’s Inside Edition wasn’t as fortunate, falling 10% to a 2.7, matching its season low. 

Warner Bros.’ TMZ and NBCU’s Access Hollywood both stood pat at a 1.8 and 1.6, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Extra eased 7% to a 1.4. CTD’s The Insider was off 15% to a 1.1, although it was the only magazine to grow year to year, gaining 10%.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation was flat for the week at a 0.9 for the sixth consecutive session. Trifecta’s OK! TV was unchanged at a 0.3.

Only three talk shows in the top ten gained for the week: NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey, which jumped 6% in households to a 1.8 and grew 13% among women 25-54 to a 0.9; NBCU’s Maury which improved 7% in households to a 1.6 and climbed 10% in the demo to a 1.1; and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which like Maury, added 7% households to a 1.6 and stayed at a 1.1 in the demo to stay tied with Maury for fifth place in households.

CTD’s Dr. Phil, which has been talk leader for the past ten weeks, was partially in reruns and dipped 3% to a 2.9, tying Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which was steady for the week.

Among women 25-54, Live led with an unchanged 1.4 in the key demo, compared to Phil’s 1.3, down 7% for the week.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres was flat at a 2.4 in households. 

CTD’s Rachael Ray receded 7% to a 1.4. SPT’s Dr. Oz sank 7% to a 1.3, to tie NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which held steady for the week and added 13% among women 25-54 to a 0.9. NBCU’s Jerry Springer stayed at a 1.2 and added 14% in the demo to a 0.8. CTD’s The Doctors went into repeats on four of the five days, giving back 9% to a 1.0, tying Warner Bros.’ TheReal, which held steady at that number for the fifth consecutive week. NBCU’s soon-to-end Meredith Vieira rebounded 13% from its season low to a 0.9.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily led the rookies with a steady 1.0. Disney-ABC’s FABLife and NBCU’s Crazy Talk, both of which are ending, were flat at a 0.8 and 0.5, respectively. CrimeWatch also led among women 25-54, improving 20% for the week to a 0.6. FABLife and Crazy Talk were unchanged in the demo at a 0.4 and 0.3, respectively. 

CTD’s Judge Judy was in reruns on four of the five days and slipped 10% to a 6.5, although that was still up 7% from last year at this time. In addition, Judy was syndication’s highest rated strip for the 38th time in the past 39 weeks. 

CTD’s Hot Bench, which has been the number-two court room for one year now, advanced 4% to a 2.5 and added 56% from last year at this time, before the show made its move to CBS owned stations in top markets. Hot Bench ranked fourth in daytime, beating Ellen for the first time in a non-holiday session. 

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court recovered 12% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis regained 7% to a 1.5. Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Trifecta’s Judge Faith were flat at 1.2 and 0.9, respectively. 

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory dipped 2% to a 5.9. Twentieth’s Modern Family finished 9% higher at a 3.5. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly and Twentieth’s Family Guy all remained at a 2.7, 2.1 and 2.1, respectively. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother took a 33% leap from its season low in the prior frame to a 2.0. Warner Bros.’ newcomer 2Broke Girls slumped 10% to a 1.9. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show shrank 6% to a 1.7. SPT’s Seinfeld dropped 11% to a 1.6, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill declined 7% to a 1.3.

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.