Syndication Ratings: Numbers Rise as Viewers Stay at Home During Coronavirus Pandemic

As expected, ratings for syndicated shows in the week ended March 22 were largely up as viewers stayed home amid the coronavirus pandemic. That held true even though preemptions were common throughout the week due to breaking news coverage, and even though many shows were in repeats due to production being halted as people were sent home across the country.

Similarly, game shows also benefited with CTD’s Jeopardy! jumping 12% to lead all of syndication with a new season-high 7.3 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, and just edged stablemate CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, which accelerated 16% to a new season-high 7.2. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud forged ahead 10% to a new season-high 6.6.

Jeopardy! has its annual college championship starting April 6: 


Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask was unchanged at a 0.5 for the seventh straight week.

Among the rookie games, Fox’s 25 Words or Less recovered 10% to a 1.0, while Sony Pictures Television’s off-GSN America Says improved 14% to a 0.8.

Also in first-run, Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute remained at a 0.8 for the eighth consecutive week.

Magazines, which were the hottest performers in the prior frame, were again big gainers across the board. CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight was the top-rated magazine for the 10th time in the past 11 weeks, including one tie, with a 10% gain to a new season-high 3.3 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Close behind, sister show CTD’s Inside Edition also added 10% to a new season-high 3.2. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood, which hit an eight-week high and matched its season best in the prior week, was broken out on all five days and thus did not have a rating to report for the week.

Warner Bros.’ TMZ climbed 17% to a new season-high 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which was the only syndicated strip of any type to hit a new season high in the prior week, shot up 9% to yet another new season-high 1.2, its strongest showing since November 2018. Extra has now seen a 33% surge across two weeks with extensive coverage of the pandemic.

CTD’s DailyMailTV delivered a 13% improvement to a 13-week-high 0.9 and matched its best rating of the season. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page stayed at a 0.2 for the 38th straight week.

In daytime, CTD’s Dr. Phil grew 14% to a 2.4 to top the talkers for the eighth straight week. That marks the 181st time in the last 185 weeks that Phil has finished first or tied for first in the category. Among women 25-54, Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan led with a 1.1, although the show had only a fraction of its week counted due to preemptions for virus news.

Back in households, Live rose 10% to a second-place 2.2, equalling its season high.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, in third place, remained at a 1.8.

SPT’s Dr. Oz, the star of which has been on many news programs in the past several weeks talking about the pandemic, ballooned 33% to a new season-high 1.2.

Related: 'Dr. Oz' Suspends Production After Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams eased 8% to a 1.1, tying NBCU’s unchanged Maury and CTD’s Rachael Ray, which recovered 10% to a 1.1. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos rebounded 11% to a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ The Real retreated 17% to a 0.5, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which stayed put for the seventh straight week. NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated run of Jerry Springer sank 25% to a 0.3.

Among the rookie talkers, NBCU’s Kelly Clarkson spiked 8% to an eight-week high 1.4, despite airing mostly repeats and getting hit with preemptions. That put Kelly Clarksion in fourth place overall among the talkers.

Disney’s Tamron Hall, which has replaced executive producer Bill Geddie with The View’s Candi Carter, was not producing new episodes due to the pandemic and slipped 10% to a 0.9. TamronHall started producing new episodes with Hall at home that began airing March 30.

Related: Bill Geddie Exits 'Tamron Hall' as Executive Producer

SPT’s Mel Robbins, which is not returning after this season, remained at a 0.5.

CTD’s Judge Judy led the courts with a 12% increase to a three-week high 6.6.

CTD’s Hot Bench barrelled ahead 16% to a 2.2, matching its season high and tying Live as daytime’s third-highest rated show.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was a consistent 1.4 for the eighth time in nine weeks. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved up 13% to a 0.9. Fox’s Divorce Court climbed 17% to a 0.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence stayed put at a 0.4.

Related: Faith Jenkins Is 'Divorce Court''s New Judge

Among the court rookies, NBCU’s Judge Jerry, greenlit for year two, was in repeats for the entire week but strengthened 13% to a 0.9 in households. MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court and Trifecta’s Protection Court each were steady at a 0.5 and 0.3, respectively.

Among the off-network crime shows, NBCU’s Dateline stayed at a 1.2 for a second week, while SPT’s off A&E Live PD Police Patrol popped up 25% to a 1.0. NBCU’s scripted procedural Chicago PD was unchanged at a 0.9.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory led the laffers with a 13% leap to a new season-high 3.5. Disney’s Last Man Standing sprinted 5% to a 2.2. Disney’s Modern Family, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men and Disney’s Family Guy all were on par with the prior week’s 1.6, 1.4 and 1.2, respectively. SPT’s The Goldbergs gave back 8% to a 1.1, tying SPT’s Seinfeld, which added 10%. Warner Bros.’ Mom and Disney’s Black-ish both broke even at a 1.0, tying Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, which moved ahead 11%. 

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.