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Syndication Ratings: Oprah's Secret Sister Drives Show to Three-Year Ratings High

Oprah's secret sister earned TV's top talker its biggest ratings in more than three years.

In the week ended Jan. 24, CBS Television Distribution's Oprah exploded by 28%, hitting a 6.4 live plus same day household ratings average. That's the show's highest one-week average since the week ending Nov. 18, 2007.

The episode in which Oprah revealed her new-found half-sister pulled in nearly 11.4 million viewers, five million more viewers than the show's second-most-viewed episode of the week, which featured First Lady Michelle Obama.

With no secret sisters waiting backstage, the rest of syndication fared less well. Most shows either held steady or fell during a week in which levels of people using television declined by 2.6 million, and in which some shows were preempted by the president's annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan 25.

In the week after Regis announced that he will be leaving, Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly fell back 7% to a 2.8. CTD's Dr. Phil, sans the golden voice and incredibly story of Ted Williams, also slipped 7% to a 2.7. Three's not much of a charm, with Sony's Dr. Oz also declining 7% to a 2.6. Bucking the trend, Warner Bros.' Ellen added 4% to a 2.5. NBC Universal's Maury was flat at a 2.2. CTD's The Doctors yielded 10% to a 1.8. CTD's Rachael Ray was off 6% to a 1.7.

NBCU's Jerry Springer was flat at a 1.5. NBCU's Steve Wilkos lost 7% to a 1.4, but jumped 17% compared to last year, which is the most year-to-year growth of any talker. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams dropped 8% to a 1.1.

Among court shows, CTD's unstoppable Judge Judy notched its 750th week at the top of the court genre, dipping 2% to a 4.6. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown decreased 9% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' People's Court fell 5% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and Twenieth's Divorce Court each were flat at a 1.7 and 1.4, respectively. Twentieth's Judge Alex lost 7% to a 1.4, tying Divorce, while Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro declined 9% to a 1.0.

CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace remained syndication's top first-run rookie at a steady 1.3. Sony's Nate Berkus faded 9% to a 1.0. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, Litton's Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross all were unchanged at a 0.9, 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.

NBCU's rookie Access Hollywood Live, which is cleared in 13 metered markets, scored a 1.2 rating/4 share, up 20% over its February 2010 time period average for the first two days of the February sweep. Among women 18-49, the show improved time periods by 75% to a 0.7.

Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother improved 8% to hit a new season high 2.7. Mother is syndication's third-ranked among adults 18-49, second only to Two and a Half Men and Family Guy and tied with Oprah and Wheel of Fortune.

Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine was flat at a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns was down 8% to a 1.2. Warner Bros.' Entourage and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives each were steady at a 0.7 and 0.6, respectively. Warner Bros.' Curb Your Enthusiasm was curbed 14% to a 0.6.

The veteran off-net sitcoms held up well with Warner Bros.' leader Two and a Half Men unchanged at a 6.2. Twentieth's Family Guy jumped 10% to a new season high 4.6. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond was flat at a 3.0. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids gained 7% to a 2.9. Sony's Seinfeld was steady at a 2.8. NBCU's The Office was up 13% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.' George Lopez climbed 9% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill and Warner Bros.' Friends each were unchanged at a 2.1 and 1.9, respectively.

Elsewhere in access, most magazines were lower following a week boosted by Regis coverage. CTD's Entertainment Tonight retreated 7% to a 4.1. CTD's Inside Edition, the one magazine to decline in the prior frame, regained 3% to a 3.2. In third place, Warner Bros.' TMZ was steady at its season-high 2.1. NBCU's Access Hollywood dropped 5% to a 2.0. CTD's The Insider also gave back 5% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Extra, which was heavily preempted by the State of the Union speech on Jan. 25, relinquished 6% to a 1.7.

The top games were little changed. CTD's Wheel of Fortune was flat at an 8.0, down just 1% from its season-high of two weeks prior, while CTD's Jeopardy! dropped 2% to a 6.4. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was unchanged at a 2.4. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud advanced 6% to a 1.9. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader tacked on 10% to a 1.1.