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Syndication Ratings: 'Oprah,' 'Access Hollywood' Only Syndies To Improve As February Sweeps Kicks In

Syndication ratings fell back to earth in the week ended Feb. 13, with only CBS Television Distribution's Oprah and NBC Universal's Access Hollywood up week to week.

Part of that problem may be due to levels of people using television (PUT) declining by more than five million viewers during the week. Some strips also faced preemptions during the week due to President Barack Obama's speech on Egypt on Feb. 11.

Oprah, which fell by double-digits in the previous week, recovered 6% during the first full week of the February sweep to a 5.7 live plus dame day household ratings average. TV's top talker was boosted by episodes featuring Manhattan mogul Donald Trump and his family, and ABC's Barbara Walters with her the crew from The View.

CTD's Dr. Phil gave back 9% to a 3.1, after jumping 26% in the previous session and equaling a two-year high. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly was flat at a 3.1, tying Phil for second place among the talkers. Warner Bros.' Ellen, in fourth place, fell 4% to a 2.6. Sony's Dr. Oz bled 7% to a 2.5. NBCU's Maury was flat at a 2.1. CTD's The Doctors slipped 5% to a 2.0. CTD's Rachael Ray, which hit a new season high in the prior week, backed off 10% to a 1.8. NBCU's Steve Wilkos dropped 7% to a 1.4. NBCU's Jerry Springer and Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams were unchanged at a 1.4 and 1.2, respectively.

Among the rookie strips, CTD's leader Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, which hit a series high in the prior session, eased 7% to a 1.4. In second place, Sony's Nate Berkus sank 17% to a 1.0. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics dropped 11% to a 0.8. Litton's Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross each were flat at a 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.

Meanwhile, NBCU's Access Hollywood Live, cleared in 13 markets, averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share, up 10% over its February 2010 average for the second week of the sweep. Among women 25-54, the show improved time periods 60% to a 0.8/5.

Access Hollywood was the only show in access to improve over the prior week, growing 5% to a 2.1 and matching its previous season high. The show got a boost from its extensive coverage of the Super Bowl and its commercials, taking ratings up 15% to a 2.3 on Feb. 7.

Meanwhile, CTD's magazine leader Entertainment Tonight dipped 2% to a 4.3. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition faded 6% to a 3.3. Warner Bros.' TMZ was flat at a 2.1, tying Access Hollywood. CTD's The Insider fell 5% to a 1.8, while the show's weekend edition, Insider Weekend, improved 50% to a new series high 1.5, the show's best rating in more than a year. Warner Bros.' Extra was steady at a 1.7.

None of the court shows were up week to week. CTD's top courtroom Judge Judy dipped 4% from the prior week to a 4.7. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was off 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' People's Court slid 10% to a 1.9 while Judge Mathis dropped 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court each fell 7% to a 1.4. Warner's Judge Jeanine Pirro was unchanged at a 1.1.

Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune lost 6% to a 7.9 but remained syndication's top-rated show. CTD's Jeopardy!, with only humans competing against other, weakened 4% to a 6.5, but next week's ratings are expected to sky-rocket with the much-publicized appearance of IBM's game-playing-computer, Watson.

Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud faded 5% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader was flat at a last place 1.0.

Among the new off-cable and off-net strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother was down 4% from the prior session to a 2.5. Warner's New Adventures of Old Christine was flat at a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns lost 8% to a 1.1. Warner's off-HBO Entourage fell 14% to a 0.6, tying Warner's Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was unchanged. NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives dropped 17% to a 0.5.

Finally, off-net sitcoms all were down or flat. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men declined 5% to a 6.1. Twentieth's Family Guy dipped 2% to a 4.0. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Sony's Seinfeld each were flat at a 2.9 and 2.7, respectively. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids had the category's biggest drop, skidding 17% to a 2.4. NBCU's The Office and Warner's George Lopez each were unchanged at a 2.4 and 2.1, respectively. Twentieth's King of the Hill slid 9% to a 2.0 and Warner's Friends weakened 10% to a 1.8.

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.