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Syndication Ratings: 'Maury' Lays Claim to Summer Talk Crown

In what is possibly summer's slowest week, NBCUniversal's Maury claimed the up-for-grabs talk-show crown in the week ending July 3.

The week leading up to Independence Day saw levels of people using television (PUT) decline by more than 1.3 million viewers from the prior week. Also, syndicated shows were widely hit by preemptions due to NBC's coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Maury claimed the top spot by not losing any ground, remaining flat for the week at a 2.2 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Second place was a three-way tie between CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil, Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly and CTD's Oprah, all of which were at a 2.1. Phil dropped 13% from the prior week, while Live declined 5% to a new season low. Oprah, in repeats with the show now out of original production, was flat for the third week in a row.

Sony's Dr. Oz took the second-biggest fall in talk, tumbling 15% to a series low 1.7. NBCU's Jerry Springer and CTD's The Doctors each held steady at a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively. Warner Bros.' Ellen, which did not count the low-rated Thursday and Friday broadcasts in its weekly average, still suffered talk's biggest decline, dropping 19% to a new season-low 1.3. That tied The Doctors and NBCU's Steve Wilkos, which was flat. CTD's Rachael Ray returned 14% to also hit a new season low 1.2, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was the only talker up for the week, rebounding 13% from last week's series low to a 0.9.

CTD's Judge Judy remained syndication's highest-rated first-run show, although this week Judy shared that honor with CTD's Wheel of Fortune. Judy dipped 6% to a 6.0. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was steady at a second-place 2.6. Warner Bros.' People's Court fell 5% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex climbed in tandem 7% to each hit a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was unchanged at a 1.5, while Warner's Judge Jeanine Pirro, wrapping up its run, trailed the field at a 0.8 for the tenth consecutive week.

Elsewhere in daytime, Debmar-Mercury and the Fox TV stations on Monday premiered a five-week, six market summer test of talker Father Albert, hosted by Episcopalian priest Father Albert Cutie. The show averaged a 0.7 rating/2 share in the metered markets for its first two days on the air. That's unchanged from its year-ago time periods, but down 36% from its 1.1 rating/4 share lead-in.

Among the nationally rated rookies, CTD's Swift Justice continued to lead with a steady 1.5. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, which will not be back next season, took second place with a flat 0.9. Sony's Nate Berkus remained unchanged at a 0.8 Litton's Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross also each were flat at a 0.7 and 0.4, respectively.

None of the magazines were up from the prior week. CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight dipped 3% week to week to a new season-low 3.2. CTD's Inside Edition stumbled 11% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' TMZ was flat at a 2.0 for the fifth week in a row. NBCU's Access Hollywood, bumped in several cities by Wimbledon tennis, fell 11% to a new season-low 1.6. CTD's The Insider slipped 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.' Extra, also frequently preempted in the top markets due to tennis, dropped 13% to a new season-low 1.3.

 Also in access, the game shows all were down. CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 3% to a 6.0, tying CTD's Judge Judy for first place among syndies. CTD's Jeopardy! softened 9% to a 5.0. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud faded 4% to a 2.5. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire declined 13% to a 2.0. Twentieth's Are You Smarterthan a Fifth Grader, which ends it run after this summer, fell 9% to a 1.0.

 Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men lost 3% to a 5.9, good enough for an overall second-place finish. Twentieth's Family Guy ticked down 2% to a 4.5. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids improved 3% to a 3.2. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Sony's Seinfeld each were unchanged at a 2.6 and 2.5, respectively. NBCU's The Office and Warner Bros.' George Lopez each slipped 4% to 2.4, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Friends, renewed through 2017 by Tribune, fell 5% to a 1.8.

Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother dropped 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine remained at a 1.3, while Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns slid 8% to a 1.2.