Syndication Ratings: Pregnant Man Sends Oprah Back to Stratosphere

Thomas Beatie, the so-called pregnant man, scored big for CBS' The Oprah Winfrey Show in the week ending April 6. An April 3 episode featuring the six-months-pregnant Beatie -- who retained his female reproductive organs after undergoing a partial sex change years ago -- gained 45% from the prior week to hit a 7.1 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Comparatively, the rest of Oprah's four shows averaged a 5.5.

Overall, Oprah gained 18% for the week to a 5.8 and 5% from last year at this time. That's a marked improvement from the 15% year-to-year decreases, on average, Oprah had been showing in recent months.

Besides Oprah, the other top-four four talkers all improved in a week where viewing declined by an average of 1.1 million people.

CBS' Dr. Phil -- currently in hot water for bailing out of jail one of the teen girls in Florida who is charged with beating another girl and videotaping it -- scored a 4.4, the show's highest rating since early March and up 7% from the prior week. (A planned show on the incident has since been scrapped and the producers involved rebuked.) Dr. Phil's highest-rated show focused on mothers obsessed with having perfect children, with ratings for that episode spiking 12% to a single-day rating of 4.6.

Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, which hit a season low the previous week, recovered 4% to a 2.7, putting the show up 13% from the same week last year. Warner Bros.' Ellen DeGeneres was the fourth show to see gains on the week, improving 5% to a 2.1. Ellen earned a 20% increase to a 2.4 for a show that aired Monday, March 31, featuring Jeff Foxworthy at Universal's theme park in Orlando, Fla.

CBS' Rachael Ray, with two days of repeats, was in fifth place, off 5% to a 1.9. NBC Universal's Maury fell 10% to a 1.8. CBS' Montel Williams dropped 7% to a 1.4. NBCU's Jerry Springer dipped 8% to a 1.1, tying Twentieth Television's rookie talker, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, which held steady at a 1.1. Warner Bros.' Tyra Banks, in repeats for three out of five days, fell 9% to a 1.0. NBCU's Martha Stewart was flat at a 1.0, as was NBCU's newcomer, Steve Wilkos, at a 0.9.

CBS' Judge Judy jumped 2% from the prior week and 7% from last year to a 4.8. CBS' Judge Joe Brown was unchanged at a 2.4, tying Warner Bros.' People's Court, which climbed 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis fell 5% to a new season-low 1.9. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex tied at a 1.7, with Divorce Court flat and Judge Alex up 6%. Sony's Judge Hatchett jumped 8% to a 1.3. Twentieth's Cristina's Court, Sony's Judge Maria Lopez, Sony's Judge David Young and Radar Entertainment's Jury Duty were all unchanged at a 1.1, 0.8, 0.8 and 0.3, respectively.

In access, CBS' Entertainment Tonight had the biggest increase of any strip in access, gaining 10% from the prior week to a 4.3, after getting a 15% boost April 3 with news of Beyoncé’s and Jay-Z's secret wedding. CBS' Inside Edition, in second place, was unchanged at a 3.0. NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' rookie, TMZ, were both flat at a 2.2. CBS' The Insider was the only other magazine to improve, gaining 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Extra held steady at a 1.8.

Among the games, CBS' Wheel of Fortune fell 3% to a 7.7 but was up 3% from last year. CBS' Jeopardy! jumped 3% to a 6.2. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire climbed 7% to a 2.9. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud improved 5% to a 2.0 and also was up 11% from the same week last year. Program Partners' Merv Griffin’s Crosswords fell 11% to a 0.8, while Twentieth's Temptation was unchanged at a 0.5.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' rookie leader, Two and a Half Men, climbed 4% to a 5.4. Twentieth's Family Guy fell 4% to a 4.4. Sony's Seinfeld was down 2% to a 4.0. CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond dropped 5% to a 3.6. Warner Bros.' George Lopez, in fifth, dipped 3% to a 3.3. Sony's King of Queens declined 7% to a 2.8, tying Warner Bros.' Friends, which was flat.

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.