Syndication Ratings: Nothing Improves Amid Preemptions, Low Viewership

Ellen DeGeneres on talk show 'Ellen'
In repeats, 'Ellen' falls to lowest rating in 17-year series history (Image credit: Warner Bros./The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

Syndies continued to languish at series and season lows in the slow summer week ended Aug. 16, which was marked by low viewing levels and preemptions for news and baseball.

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil continued to lead the talkers despite airing repeats all week and dipping 5% from the prior week to a 1.8 live plus same day national household ratings average, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan fell 6% to a new season-low 1.5, while NBCUniversal’s Maury was unchanged at its series-low 1.0 for a second straight week but managed to bypass Warner Bros.’ beleaguered Ellen DeGeneres in the weekly talk rankings.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Dr. Phil and Live tied for first at a 0.7.

Ellen, in repeats, slipped 10% for the week to a 0.9, and 36% from the same week last year, marking talk’s largest year-to-year decline. That said, Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz also sank 33% compared to last year and has been holding at a series low 0.6 for the past five weeks.

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NBCU’s Steve Wilkos stayed at its season low 0.9 for the third straight week, tying Ellen. Nipping at Ellen’s heels were CTD’s Rachael Ray, which remained at its series low 0.8 for a fifth consecutive week, and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which stood pat at its season low 0.7 for a third straight week. 

Dr. Oz, Warner Bros.’ The Real, CTD’s The Doctors and NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated run of Jerry Springer all were flat at series lows 0.6, 0.4, 0.4 and 0.3, respectively. Besides Oz, the rest of those shows have been at those levels for 11 straight weeks.

Related: Garcelle Beauvais Named New Co-Host of 'The Real'

NBCU’s rookie talk leader Kelly Clarkson held steady at a 0.8 with four Staycation originals and one repeat. Disney’s Tamron Hall aired encore episodes on four of the five days and was heavily preempted but remained at a 0.7. Both Clarkson and Hall are returning for second seasons.

SPT’s Mel Robbins, which is departing, remained at its season low 0.3 for an 11th straight week. 

CTD’s Judge Judy and Hot Bench led all of daytime shows for a tenth straight week, as well as court, even though both programs were in repeats all week and very heavily preempted. 

Related: Victoria Jenest Promoted to Co-Executive Producer at 'Judge Judy'

Judy dipped 4% to a new season-low 5.2, while Bench gave back 5% to a 1.9, beating Dr. Phil to be daytime’s second-highest rated show.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis, Fox’s Divorce Court and Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence were all on par 1.3, 0.8 0.5 and 0.4, respectively.

NBCU’s renewed Judge Jerry led the rookie courts at its season low 0.7 for a second week. MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court settled for a 0.4 for the 12th straight week, while Trifecta’s Protection Court cratered 33% to a 0.2, equallying its season low. 

The magazines were largely steady with CTD’s Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight, NBCU’s Access Hollywood, CTD’s DailyMailTV and Warner Bros.’ TMZ all staying at a 2.4, 2.3, 1.0, 0.8 and 0.8, respectively.

Related: Thomas Roberts Named New Host of 'DailyMailTV' in Season 4

Warner Bros.’ Extra fell back 13% to a 0.7 after being heavily preempted by baseball preemptions on Fox-owned stations, including in five of the top six markets.

Trifecta’s Celebrity Page posted a 0.1 for a third consecutive week.

Games were all down or flat. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 2% to a 5.5 to lead all of syndication. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune remained at its season-low 4.7 for a third straight week. CTD’s Jeopardy! weakened 2% to a new season-low 4.4. Further back, Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask held at a 0.5 for a sixth straight week.

Among the new games, Fox’s renewed 25 Words or Less, executive produced by and starring Meredith Vieira, held at a 0.9 for the third straight week, while SPT’s off-GSN America Says, which is not returning, remained right behind at a steady 0.8. 

Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute stayed at its series-low 0.6 for a third straight week. 

NBCU’s Dateline delivered an unchanged 1.1 for the fourth straight week, while NBCU’s scripted procedural Chicago PD stayed at a 0.7, matching its series low. 

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory and Disney’s Last Man Standing stood pat at a 2.5 and 1.9, respectively, to lead the off-network sitcoms. Disney’s Modern Family fell 8% to a new series low 1.1, tying Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, which maintained for the fourth week in a row. SPT’s The Goldbergs stayed at a series-low 1.0 for a third straight week. SPT’s Seinfeld and Disney’s Family Guy both shrank 10% to a 0.9. Disney’s Black-ish, Warner Bros.’ Mom and Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly all were in line with the prior week’s 0.8. 

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.