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Syndication Ratings: With More Daylight Comes Bigger Drops

With the start of longer, brighter days, average levels of people watching television declined by more than 5 million viewers in the week ending March 15, and ratings for syndicated shows dropped accordingly.

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil gave back 9% to a 3.1 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, but remained in first place among the talkers for the ninth week in a row. The show’s intervention with Bobbi Kristina Brown’s boyfriend, Nick Gordon, on March 11 scored a 4.0 for the day, which was Dr. Phil’s second-highest rated episode of the season and up 18% from the previous week. Among women 25-54, Phil was first in talk for the week with a 1.7 in the demographic.

In second place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael dipped 6% to a 3.0. Next in line, Warner Bro.'s Ellen Degeneres dropped 14% to a third-place 2.4, that show’s lowest ratings since the week ending Dec. 29, 2014.

NBCUniversal’s Maury and Steve Harvey each slipped 5% to a 1.9 and 1.8, respectively. Maury, however, was one of the few talkers to manage a gain among women 25-54, growing 7% to a 1.5 and finishing second only to Dr. Phil in the demo.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams came back with a week of originals, returning to previous ratings levels with a 23% gain to a sixth-place 1.6. In addition, Wendy jumped 20% among women 25-54 to a 1.4, tying Ellen, which dropped 20% for fourth place in the key demo.

CTD’s Rachael Ray relinquished 13% to a 1.3 in households, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which fell 7%, NBCU’s Jerry Springer, which was flat and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which declined 13% for the week and 35% for the year. Springer, in its 24th year, had the largest annual increase of any talk show, improving 18% from the same week last year.

SPT’s Queen Latifah, nearing the end of its run, eroded 11% to a new season-low 0.8. Meredith’s The Better Show, which will end its run after this season, dropped 50% from a 0.2 to a 0.1.

Among the first-run rookies, CTD’s Hot Bench continued to set the pace for the 26th consecutive week, with a 1.6, down 11%. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game retreated 13% to a second-place 1.3. Warner Bros.’ The Real remained at a 1.1, but led the freshman among women 25-54 with a 0.9 in the demo. NBCU’s Meredith Vieira yielded 9% to a new season-low 1.0, while Trifecta’s Judge Faith fell 13% to a 0.7.

Elsewhere in daytime, court shows were mostly lower. CTD's court leader, Judge Judy, dipped 3% to a 6.8, but tied CTD’s Wheel of Fortune for the overall syndication lead. In second place, Warner Bros.’ People’s Court slumped 11% to a 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was flat at a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis shrank 7% to a 1.3, while MGM’s sophomore Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court receded 8% to a 1.2.

In access, game shows were uniformly soft. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune skidded 12% to a 6.8, and barely held the category lead over stablemate Jeopardy!, which declined 9% to a 6.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud also fell 9%, landing at a 6.4; however, that was still up 23% from last year at this time. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire dropped 11% to a 1.7, down 23% from last year.

MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute weakened 6% to a 1.5.

Magazines also had a difficult week after the time change. CTD’s leader, Entertainment Tonight, slipped 8% to a 3.3. CTD’s Inside Edition eased 9% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ TMZ faded 5% to a 2.1. NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which had been flying high in the previous session, declined 15% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ Extra dipped 6% to a 1.5, while CTD’s The Insider dropped 8% to a 1.2, tying Twentieth’s Dish Nation, which was flat at a 1.2. Trifecta’s OK! TV was off 33% from a 0.3 to a 0.2.

The arrival of daylight saving time took a bite out of all the off-net sitcoms. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory backtracked 11% to a 5.7. Twentieth’s Modern Family dipped 3% to a 3.8. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved 3% lower to a 3.1. Warner Bros.’ Mike and Molly stumbled 12% to a 2.3, tying Twentieth’s Family Guy, which fell 4% to a 2.3. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother declined 4% to a 2.2. SPT’s Seinfeld sank 9% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and Warner Bros.’ The Middle both dropped 6% to a 1.7, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill tumbled 12% to a 1.5.