Syndication Ratings: Oprah's Doctors, 'Phil' and 'Oz,' Lead Talk Pack

Two weeks into the new season, and Oprah's two doctors remain the heirs to her throne.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil fell 21% from its impressive opening week to a 3.1 live-plus-same-day national household rating in the week ending Sept. 25, according to Nielsen Media Research, but remained strong enough to improve 24% over last year and to claim the title of top talker. Sony's Dr. Oz followed right behind, improving 3% for the week and 30% for the year to a 3.0, the show's best performance since February.

In third place, Disney-ABC's Live! with Regis and Kelly advanced 8% for the week and 13% for the year to a 2.7. Warner Bros.' Ellen was unchanged week to week and up 15% from last year to a 2.3. NBCUniversal's Maury, which premiered this week, was flat for the week and up 10% from last year to a 2.2. CTD's The Doctors, which just added fitness expert Jillian Michaels to its panel, jumped 7% to a 1.6, the show's best number in more than four months, and even with last year.

CTD's Rachael Ray climbed 15% from the week to a 1.5, the show's best rating in 19 weeks and even with last year. NBCU's Jerry Springer was flat for the week at a 1.5, but up 25% from last year at this time. NBCU's Steve Wilkos was flat for the week and the year at a 1.4. Sony's Nate Berkus was flat for the week at a 1.1, and up 10% from last year. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was flat at a 1.0 for the week and the year.

Warner Bros.' Anderson made its national debut on the ratings chart at a 1.4, making it the second-highest talk show premiere in five years, behind only Dr. Oz's 2009 premiere. Anderson, which had its first-week rating reprocessed by Nielsen, was easily the top-rated first-run rookie.

CTD's Excused, a new dating show that airs in late night and late fringe, matched its prior week delivery at a 0.6. In daytime, Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle bowed at a 0.5. Entertainment Studios' We the People with Gloria Allred was flat in its second week at a 0.4.

Among the off-net newcomers, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory debuted nationally at a 4.5, 165% higher than its 1.7 metered market household average. (Note that national ratings include the show's run on TBS, while the metered market numbers do not.) That officially gets Big Bang Theory off to a very good start in syndication - even improving on Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men's broadcast-exclusive 3.3 premiere in 2007 -- and makes it the fifth-highest rated strip in syndication, behind CTD's Judge Judy, CTD's Wheel of Fortune,Two and a Half Men and CTD's Jeopardy!.

NBCU's 30 Rock also was much stronger than expected in its first week of national ratings, growing 75% from its 0.8 metered market household average to a 1.4 in mostly late-fringe, lesser-viewed time periods. (30 Rock is stripped at 7 and 7:30 p.m. on Viacom's Comedy Central and also airs on Tribune's WGN America.) Twentieth's off-FX It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia opened at a 1.2, while Sony's Til Death dropped 17% to a 0.5 in its second week.

Coverage of the Primetime Emmy awards buoyed the magazine shows with all of the genre's shows holding steady or gaining ground. CTD's Entertainment Tonight added 9% from the prior week to a 3.7, the show's strongest performance since May. On Monday, Sept. 19, the day after the Emmys, ET's rating expanded 18% to a 4.0. CTD's Inside Edition gained 3% to a 3.1. NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' TMZ each were steady at a 2.0 and 1.9, respectively. CTD's The Insider had the genre's biggest jump, spiking 13% to a 1.7, its highest rating in 18 weeks. Warner Bros.' Extra was firm at a 1.6 in households. On WNBC New York at 7 p.m., Extra won its time period among women 25-54 for the week, beating such strong competitors as Two and a Half Men and Jeopardy!, with a 1.9 rating/7.

CTD's Judge Judy remained syndication's top-rated show as well as the highest-rated court show, improving 2% from the prior week to a 6.7 in households and gaining 15% among women 25-54 to a 3.1. CTD's Judge Joe Brown gave back 3% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' People's Court fell 5% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.6. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex each softened 6% to a 1.5. CTD's Swift Justice held steady at a 1.3. Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross improved 13% to a 0.9.

Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune was up 8% from the prior week to a 6.6. CTD's Jeopardy! rebounded 17% to a 5.4. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud, hosted by Steve Harvey, gained 8% to a 2.8, up 40% from last year after getting upgrades on WWOR New York, WPWR Chicago, WCAU Philadelphia, WWJ Detroit, WTTA Tampa, WUAB Cleveland, WRBU St. Louis, KPTV Portland, and WPCW Pittsburgh. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire picked up 4% to a 2.5.

Two and a Half Men remained the top off-net sitcom, improving 2% to a 6.5. Twentieth's Family Guy was unchanged at a 4.0. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother dropped 11% to a 3.2. Sony's Seinfeld was flat at a 2.5. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond weakened 13% to a 2.1, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which dropped 9%. Warner Bros.' Friends slumped 14% to a 1.9. Carsey-Werner's That 70s Show was flat at a 1.8.

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.