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Syndication Ratings: May Sweeps Slow Out of the Starting Gate

Against nice weather and widespread news preemptions, May sweeps got off to a sluggish start in the week ended May 6, the sweep's first full week.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil increased its hold on the talk lead, scoring first place for the 27th week this season, even though the show fell off 3% to a 2.9. Sony's Dr. Oz, heading into the culmination of its year-long Transformation Nation series, held steady in second place at a 2.7. NBCU's Maury inched up 4% for sole possession of third place at a 2.4. Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Warner Bros.' Ellen each declined 4% to a 2.3, tying for fourth place. CTD's The Doctors gave back 6% to a 1.6. CTD's Rachael Ray remained at a 1.5. NBCU's Jerry Springer slid 7% to a 1.3. NBCU's Steve Wilkos, Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams and Sony's Nate Berkus all were unchanged at a 1.2, 1.1 and 1.0, respectively.

Amongst the rookie talkers, Warner Bros.' Anderson was partially or completely preempted in 13 markets by President Obama's surprise press conference from Afghanistan on May 1. The show lost 13% for the week, falling to a 1.3. Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle and Entertainment Studios' We the People each were flat at 0.6 and 0.4, respectively.

In late night, CTD's Excused held steady at a 0.6.

Only two of the magazines managed to show improvement for the week. CTD's long-time leader, Entertainment Tonight, which recently marked its 8,000th episode, grew 3% to a 3.6 in households. Warner Bros.' TMZ added 5% to a third-place 2.0. CTD's Inside Edition, in second place, sank 3% to a 3.0. NBCU's Access Hollywood eased 6% to a 1.7. CTD's The Insider was flat at a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Extra held steady at a 1.5.

NBCUniversal's slow roll-out, Access Hollywood Live, was flat week to week at a 0.9 rating/3 share in its 17 markets, although up year to year in four out of seven of its largest markets.

CBS Television Distribution's top court, Judge Judy, remained firm at a 6.8, tying Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory as syndication's top-rated series. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown fell 7% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' People's Court lost 5% to a 1.9. Twentieth's Judge Alex tumbled 13% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth's Divorce Court and Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis, both of which slumped 7% to a 1.4. CTD's Swift Justice, which is out of production, sank 8% to a 1.1. Entertainment Studios' America's Court was flat at a 0.9.

All four of the game shows feel from the prior week. CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 4% to a 6.4, landing in third place in overall syndication among households. CTD's Jeopardy! also dropped 4% to a 5.5. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud fell 3% to a 2.9, while Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire declined 4% to a 2.5.

Big Bang Theory added 5% to a 6.8 to lead both syndication and the off-net sitcoms. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, just renewed for another year in primetime, was flat at a 5.5. Twentieth's Family Guy softened 2% to a 4.0. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother grew 4% to a 2.7. Sony's Seinfeld stumbled 4% to a 2.4, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which climbed 9% to a new season high 2.4. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond receded 4% to a 2.2, while Warner Bros.' Friends faded 9% to a 2.0.

Among the rookie off-nets, NBCU's 30 Rock, which will wrap its primetime run after the end of next season, advanced 8% to a 1.3 in late fringe. Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fell 8% to a 1.1. Sony's ‘Til Death was flat at a 0.6.