Syndication Ratings: 'Oz' Off To Solid Start

Sony’s The Dr. Oz Show, one of this season’s four new first-run strips, premiered Monday, Sept. 14, at a 1.7 rating/5 share weighted metered market household average, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s up 31% compared to year-ago time periods and up 40% over its lead-ins, according to Sony.

Dr. Oz performed especially well on Fox stations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, improving time periods in those markets by an entire ratings point or more. Still, industry observers are looking for Oz to grow to at least a 2.0 national household average.

Other new first-run strips this year are Warner Bros.’ court show, Jeanine Pirro, which comes to syndication off of The CW.Pirro premiered on Monday, Sept. 7. This Monday (Sept. 14), the show averaged a 0.7/2. Fox’s Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader opens next week as does Litton’s Street Court.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which premiered nationally in July but is adding 30 markets to its roster, averaged a 0.9/3. The show is holding its own in New York, particularly among the demographic ratings, and is growing in Chicago, but needs to see growth across the country.

CBS’ The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndication’s top talk show, had its biggest premiere in three seasons, opening season 24 on Monday at a 4.8/13, up 55% from last year’s 3.1/8, the show’s lowest-rated premiere ever. The premiere featured an exclusive interview with pop diva Whitney Houston.

This year’s premiere also beat 2007, when Oprah opened at a 4.6/12. Like all syndicated shows, Oprah’s ratings have dropped steadily in recent years. In 2004, the show premiered at a 7.3/21; in 2005, at a 6.4/16 and in 2006, at a 5.5/14.
CBS’ Dr. Phil had intended to premiere with a live episode shot in New York City, but decided to tape it and hold it for Tuesday because Dr. Phil was preempted in many markets for CBS’ coverage of the Men’s U.S. Open Tennis Finals from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET. An unaired episode aired instead and averaged a 2.8/7.

In a statement, Dr. Phil’s producers said: “Due to the unanticipated U.S. Open rain delay schedule, we were going to be pre-empted in a significant percentage of our markets if we went live, so we taped our NY show on Monday and it will air today. The second NY show we taped will air Thursday. We are still planning on being live in Philadelphia on Wednesday.”

Among the other talkers, Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly, entering its 22nd season, opened at a 2.4/9. Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres, who is getting plenty of buzz around the announcement that she’ll be American Idol’s fourth judge, averaged a 2.1/6 on Monday, although the show premiered on Tuesday, Sept. 8. CBS’ Rachael Ray premiered at a 1.8/6, tying in rating with CBS’ The Doctors, which opened at a 1.8/.5. NBC Universal’s trio of talkers Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos – all of which are now taped in Connecticut to take advantage of local tax incentives – debuted at a 1.4/5, 1.1/4 and a 1.0/3, respectively.

Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt averaged a 0.9/3, after premiering last Tuesday, Sept. 8. In last place among the talk shows, NBC U’s Martha Stewart opened at a 0.7/2.

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.