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Syndication Ratings: Series Buffeted by March Madness for Second Week

The NCAA’s annual basketball tournament, March Madness, again drove syndies off the court with most shows flat or down in the week ended March 31.

CBS Television Distribution’s overall syndication leader Judge Judy was one of three exceptions, jumping 6% to a 6.7 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Judy has now been syndication’s top series in households for 38 straight weeks with four ties. The court show, now in its 23rd season, managed to do that even though it was in reruns on all five days.

The rest of court was unchanged. CTD’s HotBench, which aired four days of repeats, clocked a 2.3 to rank as daytime’s third-highest rated strip behind only Judy and CTD’s Dr. Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis and Twentieth’s DivorceCourt settled in at a 1.4, 1.0 and 0.7, respectively.

Phil was the sole talk show to improve. Despite two days of encore episodes, Phil climbed 8% to a 2.7 to top the talkers for the 134th straight week with five ties. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil again led with a 1.1.

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan eased 5% to a 2.1, but remained in second place for a fifth consecutive week. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres dropped 11% to a new season-low 1.7 with reruns. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams remained at its season-high 1.5 in the host’s fourth week back after taking two months off.

NBCU’s Maury stabilized at a 1.4 for the fifth week in a row. NBCU’s Steve, which was one of the only two talkers to improve in the prior week, held steady at a 1.3.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos was flat at a 1.1. CTD’s Rachael Ray retreated 9% to a 1.0, tying SPT’s Dr. Oz, which was flat.

Warner Bros.’ The Real recorded a 0.7 for the 12th straight week. CTD’s The Doctors hemorrhaged 17% to a 0.5, matching its series low. Disney’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E. W. Scripps, banged out a 0.4 for the 10th consecutive week, tying the syndicated version of NBCU’s out-of-production Jerry Springer, which held steady for the 29th week in a row.

Among this year’s rookies, CTD’s Face the Truth and Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence both stayed at a 0.8 and 0.6, respectively.

The only game show to improve was Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which edged ahead 3% to a 6.1 and topped the genre for a second straight week. CTD’s Jeopardy!, CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, Disney’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask all were unchanged at a 5.6, 5.5, 1.6 and 0.5, respectively.

Disney’s viral video show RightThisMinute maintained a 1.2.

CTD’s Inside Edition slipped 4% to a 2.7, matching its season low after facing preemptions due to basketball. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight backtracked 7% to a 2.6. NBCU’s Access held steady at a 1.3, tying Warner Bros.’ unchanged TMZ. Warner Bros.’ Extra eased 9% to a 1.0, tying CTD’s steady DailyMailTV.

Twentieth’s Page Six TV stayed at a 0.6, while Trifecta’s CelebrityPage sagged 33% -- or one-tenth of a ratings point -- to a 0.2.

Related: 'Page Six TV' to End After This Season

Leading the true crime posse for the 29th straight week was NBCU’s off-net Dateline, which rallied 8% to a 1.3 SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol ticked down 10% to a 0.9, matching its season low. Off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files revealed an unchanged 0.3.

NBCU’s scripted off-net strip, Chicago PD, held steady at a 1.0.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory dipped 2% to a 4.6 to lead the off-net sitcoms as it nears the end of its primetime run on CBS. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing slumped 4% to a second-place 2.3. Twentieth’s Modern Family remained at its prior week’s 1.9. SPT’s The Goldbergs gained 7% to a 1.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 13% to a 1.4, tying Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, which held steady. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly moved down 8% to a 1.1, tying Disney’s Black-ish, which broken even. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls stayed at a 1.0, tying SPT’s stable Seinfeld.

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.