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Syndication Ratings: Shows Stall Out in Third Week of February Sweeps

Syndicated TV shows — including off-net sitcoms which tend to hit the top of their ratings bell curves during the February sweep — all remained in a slump in the session ending Feb. 26, a week that was marked by unseasonably warm weather across the country.

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil remained the top talker for the 25th consecutive week at a 3.7 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was down 3% for the week but up 6% for the year, giving Phil the honor of being the only talk show in the top five to improve compared to last year. Phil also led among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 with a 1.7.

Disney-ABC’s Live held on to second place in both households and women 25-54 with a steady 2.4 in households and a 9% bump to a 1.2 among women 25-54. In the coming week ended March 5, Live should continue to be strong as the week contains the show’s highly rated post-Oscars episode.

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In third place, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres also was steady at a 2.3 in households, although it dropped 8% to a 1.1 among women 25-54. Leading into the week ended Feb. 19, Ellen had beaten or tied Live for the prior five out of six weeks and the race between them remains tight.

Both shows are down considerably from last year at this time, with Live relinquishing 20% in households and Ellen giving back 18%.

In fourth place was one of the few talk shows to improve on the week, NBCUniversal’s Maury, which gained 6% to a 1.7 in households. Maury knocked NBCU’s Steve Harvey out of fourth place, although Harvey held steady for the week at a 1.6, but plummeted 20% from last year while Maury declined just 6% from last year at this time.

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Outside of the top five, the only talker to outperform the prior week was CTD’s The Doctors, which strengthened 13% to a 0.9, tying Warner Bros.’ The Real, which was flat.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, NBCU’s Jerry Springer and SteveWilkos, CTD’s Rachael Ray, Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, NBCU’s Harry and Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily With Chris Hansen all stood pat at a 1.5, 1.4, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1 and 1.0, respectively.

The courts all were steady to slightly higher. CTD’s Judge Judy stood firm at a 7.2. CTD’s Hot Bench rose 4% to a 2.6, matching its season high and ranking third in daytime behind only Judy and Phil for the fifth week in a row. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court climbed 6% to a 1.8, while its JudgeMathis moved up 8% to a 1.4. Twentieth’s Divorce Court recovered 10% to a 1.1. Trifecta’s Judge Faith was flat at a 0.8 for the seventh straight week.

Games were mixed, with Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud leading the pack for the 44th straight week and dipping just 1% in households to a 7.4 to lead all of syndication. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune was flat at a 6.7, tying CTD’s Jeopardy!, which added 5%, for the first time since the week of July 4, 2016.

Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire appreciated 6% to a 1.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, which will end its run after this season, sagged 7% to a 1.3.

Elsewhere, Disney-ABC’s RightThisMinute remained at its season-low 1.4 for the fourth week in a row.

None of the magazines improved. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight slipped 6% to a 3.2. CTD’s Inside Edition, Warner Bros.’ TMZ, NBCU’s Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.’ Extra all were unchanged at a 3.0, 1.6, 1.4, and 1.2, respectively.

CTD’s The Insider eased 8% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s Dish Nation and Trifecta’s Celebrity Page were unchanged at a 08 and 0.3, respectively, for the eighth week in a row.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory dipped 2% to a 5.5. to lead the off-net sitcoms. Twentieth’s Modern Family fell 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men faded 4% to a 2.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 10% to a 1.9, tying Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, which moved down 5%. Twentieth’s rookie, Last Man Standing, stumbled 14% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, STP’s Seinfeld and Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show all remained at a 1.7, 1.2, and 1.2, respectively. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother lost 15% to a new series-low 1.1, tying Twentieth’s King of the Hill, which declined 8%. Year to year, How I Met Your Mother was off 35%.