Syndication Ratings: Shows Level Off as Pandemic-Driven Viewership Fades

The viewership highs that accompanied the start of stay-at-home orders are fading now that some cities are reopening and the weather is improving. The result is most syndies are flat to down in the week ending May 10.

"Entertainment Tonight" host Kevin Frazier

"Entertainment Tonight" host Kevin Frazier (Image credit: Entertainment Tonight)

Still, the top-three magazines all were higher, with CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight growing 4% from the prior frame to a three-week high 2.8 live plus same day national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. ET tied stablemate Inside Edition, which was flat, to lead the magazines.

In third place, NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood spiked 8% to an eight-week high 1.3. Over the past two weeks, ET has added 8% while Access Hollywood has improved 18%.

Warner Bros.’ TMZ remained at a 1.1, while Warner Bros.’ Extra gave back 10% to a 0.9. CTD’s DailyMailTV held its ground at a 0.8. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page stayed at a 0.2 for the 45th consecutive week.

Elsewhere in access, the top games were all lower. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud dipped 3% to a 6.7 but led the category and all of syndication. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune faded 5% to a 6.2. CTD’s Jeopardy!, which had topped the genre in the prior round, skidded 16% to a 5.9 with repeats of ABC’s Greatest of All Time Jeopardy! Tournament on four of the five days as well as the episode that introduced Ken Jennings as he began his record-setting 74-game winning streak.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask stayed at a 0.6 for a ninth straight week.

Among the rookie games, Fox’s renewed 25 Words or Less and SPT’s departing off-GSN America Says remained at a 1.1 and a 0.9, respectively.

Disney’s internet video show RightThisMinute dropped 13% to a 0.7.

In earlier dayparts, almost nothing improved as shows were again hammered with breaking news and pandemic coverage, especially in the top-ten markets.

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan remained the top talker for the seventh straight week with a steady 2.1. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Live also led with a 0.9 as it continued to produce episodes from the hosts' and producers' homes.

Back in households, CTD’s Dr. Phil was the only talker to gain, climbing 5% to a second-place 2.0.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres declined 6% to a 1.6. NBCU’s Maury lost 8% to a 1.1., tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which stayed at a 1.1. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams and NBCU’s Steve Wilkos both weakened 9% to a 1.0. SPT’s Dr. Oz lost 11% to a 0.8, while Warner Bros.’ The Real, CTD’s The Doctors and NBCU’s out-of-production syndicated run of Jerry Springer all held steady at a 0.5, 0.5 and 0.3, respectively.

Related: Wendy Williams to Take Hiatus From Daytime Talker

Among the talk-show newcomers, NBCU’s leader Kelly Clarkson was in repeats on four of the five days and saw frequent preemptions but managed to hold steady at a 1.1.  Disney’s Tamron Hall also was frequently preempted in top markets but also held at a 0.9. SPT’s Mel Robbins, which is ending its run after this season, was unchanged at a 0.4 for the seventh straight week.

CTD’s Judge Judy, syndication’s season-to-date household leader, advanced 3% to a three-week high 6.4. CTD’s Hot Bench fell back 5% to a 2.1, tying Live as daytime’s second-highest rated show.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis and Fox’s Divorce Court all were flat at a 1.5, 1.0 and 0.8, respectively. Debmar-Mercury’s Caught in Providence fell back 20% to a 0.4.

Among the rookie gavelers, NBCU’s renewed Judge Jerry, starring Jerry Springer, stayed put at a 0.8 with repeats on all five days. MGM/Orion’s Personal Injury Court improved 20% to a 0.6, while Trifecta’s Protection Court held at a 0.3 for a 35th consecutive week.

NBCU’s off-network strip Dateline delivered a 1.1 for a fourth straight week, while NBCU’s scripted procedural strip Chicago PD booked an 11% increase to a 1.0. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol eased 11% to a 0.8.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory picked up 3% to lead the off-net sitcoms at a 3.4. Disney’s Last Man Standing, Disney’s Modern Family, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men and SPT’s The Goldbergs all were steady at a 2.1, 1.5, 1.3 and 1.1, respectively. SPT’s Seinfeld shot up 10% to a 1.1, tying The Goldbergs. Disney’s Family Guy gave back 9% to a 1.0, tying Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly and Disney’s black-ish, both of which broke even. Warner Bros.’ Mom moved down 10% to a 0.9, tying Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, 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.