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Syndication Ratings: As Season Concludes, 'Judge Judy' Leads All First-Run Series for Seventh Straight Year

With the Rio Olympics concluded, syndicated shows returned to normal in the session ended Aug. 28, which also marked the end of syndication’s year-long season, as determined by Nielsen Media Research. Over the next two weeks, starting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, syndie veterans and rookies will premiere. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres launched season 14 on Tuesday, while NBCUniversal’s new daytime entertainment show, Harry, starring Harry Connick Jr., debuts on Monday, Sept. 12.

CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy, in all originals for the week, led the field for both the week and the season at a 6.9 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen. Judy jumped 10% from the prior week, its best performance since the week of May 23 and an 8% increase over last year at this time, Judy’s fourth straight week as the highest-rated show in syndication. For the entire season, Judy also was syndication’s top strip for the third consecutive year, with a 7.0 full-season household average. Judge Judy has led all first-run strips for the past seven years.

CTD’s Hot Bench—created by JudgeJudy star Judy Sheindlin, who also has a drama in development at CBS based on her own life—climbed 10% for the week and 21% for the year to a 2.3, even though it was in reruns on four of the five weekdays. Hot Bench tied CTD’s Dr. Phil as the second-highest rated show in daytime, behind only Judy, for the second week in a row.

It was a slow week for the rest of court, with Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis unchanged for the week at a 1.6 and 1.3, respectively. Twentieth’s Divorce Court declined 9% to a 1.0. Trifecta’s Judge Faith was flat at a 0.7.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was syndication’s second-highest rated strip in households after Judy for both the week and the year at a 6.6 in both measures. Feud added 10% in the first week after the Olympics to lead the games for the 18th straight week.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune rebounded 10% to a 5.7. CTD’s Jeopardy! recovered 6% to a 5.2. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game gained 18% to a 1.3. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which has moved production to Las Vegas, earned a 9% dividend to land at a 1.2.

MGM’s viral video show RightThisMinute improved 10% to a 1.1.

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight led the way for the fourth week in a row, holding steady at a 2.8. CTD’s Inside Edition increased 8% to a 2.7. NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which benefited the most of any access show from the Olympics, lost 12% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which spiked 7%. Warner Bros.’ Extra posted a 1.2 after having its ratings broken out during the two weeks of the Games.

CTD’s The Insider grew the most of any entertainment magazine, strengthening 22% to a 1.1, its highest rating since the week ending June 12. Twentieth’s Dish Nation stood pat at a 0.9 and Trifecta’s Celebrity Page remained at its usual 0.3 for the 22nd week in a row.

Elsewhere, Dr. Phil, which was in repeats on all five days, added 10% to a 2.3 to lead the talkers. In second place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly, also in repeats for the week, posted a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres recorded a third-place 1.6.

Both Live and Ellen were retitled during the Olympics, which causes those weeks of low-rated episodes out of the season average. Show producers can opt to have series retitled in atypical times, causing their ratings not to be counted, although producers have to pay for that privilege. Shows that are heavily preempted – losing coverage in more than 10% of the country – have their ratings broken out from their season average by Nielsen.

NBCU’s Maury was unchanged at a 1.5, although it tied with Phil and Live for first place among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey averaged a 1.4. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos skidded 8% to a 1.2, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which cooked up a 1.2 after being broken out during the Olympics, and SPT’s Dr. Oz, which was retitled. NBCU’s JerrySpringer was flat at a 1.1, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which added 10% for the week.

CTD’s The Doctors checked in at a 0.8 after being broken out in the prior week. Warner Bros.’ The Real remained at a 0.7 and NBCU’s soon-to-end Meredith Vieira reappeared on the chart at a 0.6 after two weeks of Olympics preemptions.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily delivered a 14% increase to a 0.8, although still in reruns prior to season two. Disney-ABC’s nearly done FABLife resurfaced at a 0.6 after being broken out for the Olympics and NBCU’s also ending Crazy Talk was flat at a 0.4.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory perked up 7% to a 4.9. Twentieth’s Modern Family finished 22% higher at a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men stayed at a 2.3. Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls grew 13% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly stood pat at a 1.7, tying SPT’s Seinfeld, which rose 6%. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother moved up 14% to a 1.6, while Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and King of the Hill both were flat at a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively.