Syndication Ratings: Shows Hit Season Highs as Sweeps Begins

Season highs were the norm as the February sweeps got underway in the week ended Feb. 3. The ratings period runs Jan. 31 through Feb. 27.

In daytime, the usual leaders rose to the occasion. CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy, which has now led the household ratings for 30 straight weeks with four ties, jumped 4% to a new season high 7.9, its strongest showing since the week ended Feb. 11, 2018.

CTD’s Hot Bench, which has been daytime’s third-ranked show for four straight weeks, also rose 4% to a new season high 2.6, its largest number in a year.

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The other court rooms were all at their previous season-best marks. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis held steady at a 1.6 and 1.1, respectively, and Twentieth’s Divorce Court was awarded a 14% increase to a 0.8.

Among the other daytime strips, CTD’s Dr. Phil extended its streak of first-place talk finishes to 126 weeks with five ties, climbing 6% to a new season high 3.3, that show’s biggest rating since the week ending May 6 of last year.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.4.

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan and Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show tied for second for the fourth consecutive week with Live adding 4% to a new season high 2.5, representing a 9% improvement over last year, the biggest annual increase of any talker in the top 10. Ellen answered with its own 4% gain to also hit a season high.

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Rounding out talk’s top five, NBCUniversal’s Maury and Steve both remained at their previous season highs with Maury at a 1.5 and Steve at a 1.4.

CTD’s Rachael Ray rallied 8% to a new season high 1.3. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Wiliams grew 9% to a 1.2, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which was unchanged, and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which perked up 9% to a new season high.

Warner Bros.’ The Real remained at a 0.7 for a fourth straight week, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which flatlined.

Disney’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E.W. Scripps, stayed at a 0.4 tying the syndicated run of repeats of NBCU’s out-of-production Jerry Springer, which held steady for the 21st straight week.

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Among the rookies, CTD’s panel talker Face the Truth climbed 13% to a new season high 0.9, while Debmar-Mercury’s already-renewed Caught in Providence added 17% to a 0.7, equalling its previous season high.

In access, many magazines were buoyed by coverage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27, and matched or beat their prior season highs.

CTD’s Inside Edition led the pack with an unchanged 3.3, while sister show EntertainmentTonight tacked on 3% to a 3.2. NBCU’s Access held steady at a 1.4, matching its season high and tying Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which picked up 8% to hit a new season high. Warner Bros.’ Extra remained at its season high 1.2 for a second straight week. CTD’s DailyMailTV held steady at its series high 1.1. Twentieth’s Page Six TV equaled its season best, spiking 17% to a 0.7. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page registered a 0.2 for the 18th straight week.

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Meanwhile, the game show arena featured yet another close finish at the top. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune inched up 3% to a new season high 7.1 to beat out stablemate Jeopardy!, which added 4% to a new season 7.0. Debmar-Mercury’s usual leader, Family Feud, dropped to third place with an unchanged 6.7.

Disney’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire cashed in with a 6% dividend to a new season high 1.8. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask stayed at a 0.5 for the 28th week in a row.

Disney’s viral video show RightThisMinute moved up 8% to a new season-high 1.4.

On the police blotter, NBCU’s off-net Dateline held steady at a 1.4. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol stayed at a 1.1. Off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files stood pat at a 0.3.

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

Among sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ leader The Big Bang Theory upticked 2% to a 4.9. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing slipped 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ Modern Family faded 5% to a 2.0. SPT’s The Goldbergs and Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men both remained at a 1.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 7% to a 1.3, while ABC’s black-ish, Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, SPT’s Seinfeld and Warner Bros.’ Mom all were unchanged at a 1.2, 1.1, 1.0, 1.0 and 1.0, respectively.

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.