Syndication Ratings: In Slow Summer Week, 'Judge Judy' Holds Up
Judge Judy was the syndie standout in the slow week ending Aug. 10, notching 20 weeks in a row on top of the syndication chart and winning by its largest margin in the show’s 18-year history.
Despite being in repeats all week, CBS Television Distribution’s leading court show grew 3% from the prior session and 8% from last year at this time to a 6.7 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Overall, courts were strong with every show except MGM’s Paternity Court gaining ground for the week. In second place, Warner Bros.’ People’s Court improved 6% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis rose 8% to a 1.4. Twentieth’s Divorce Court recovered 8% from its season low to a 1.3, tying Twentieth’s soon-to-end Judge Alex, which also advanced 8%. Paternity Court was flat at a 1.0.
CTD’s Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune — which fell 5% and 4%, respectively — were runners-up to Judge Judy, tying at a 5.5. This marks the fourth time in the past 11 weeks that Jeopardy! has tied or beaten Wheel, which prior to this season, had been first among game shows every week since September 2004. Compared to the same week last year, Jeopardy! improved 8% while Wheel declined 8%. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 2% to a 4.4, while Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, prepping for new host Terry Crews, trailed at a 1.9, losing 5% for the week and 17% for the year.
With daytime audience levels low and repeats the rule of the day, talk ratings were down. Only two talkers showed growth from the prior week: Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which grew 7% to a 1.6, and NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey, which gained 7% to a 1.5. Both shows gained despite being in reruns all week.
Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which is enjoying its best season in seven years and has made the most of fresh programming this summer, led the field for the eighth week in the past nine with a 2.6, even with the prior week. CTD’s Dr. Phil, entirely in repeats, followed Live by a tenth at a 2.5.
NBCUniversal’s Maury dipped 5% to a 1.8, in repeats on four of the five days. Warner Bros.’ Ellen was flat at a 1.7.
Disney-ABC’s Katie, now out of production, eroded 8% to a 1.2, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, also down 8%, and CTD’s Rachael Ray, which was flat. NBCU’s Jerry Springer slipped 8% to a 1.1 with mostly reruns, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which sank 4% with four repeats during the week.
CTD’s The Doctors held steady at a 1.0. NBCU’s Trisha, nearing the end of its run, retreated one-tenth of a ratings point to a 0.4. Meredith’s The Better Show was unchanged at its usual 0.2, where it has remained for 34 of the past 35 weeks.
Among the freshman class, SPT’s returning Queen Latifah was steady at a 0.9 with an all-repeat week. CTD’s The Test, Warner Bros.’ Bethenny and CTD’s Arsenio Hall – all of which are wrapping their runs – were flat at a 0.6, 0.5 and 0.5, respectively.
CTD’s magazine leader Entertainment Tonight was even with the prior week at a 2.9. CTD’s Inside Edition rebounded 4% from its season-low in the previous frame to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ TMZ softened 6% to a 1.7. NBCU’s Access Hollywood showed the strongest gain of the magazines, rallying 8% to a 1.4 and breaking a tie with Warner Bros.’ Extra, which declined 8% to a 1.2. CTD’s The Insider also fell 8% to land at a 1.1.
MGM’s RightThisMinute dropped 9% to a 1.0. Twentieth’s Dish Nation lost 10% to a 0.9. Trifecta’s OK! TV was flat at a 0.3, tying Trifecta’s out-of-production America Now, which remained at a 0.3 for the 12th consecutive week.
There were no gainers among the top ten off-net sitcoms. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 5% from the prior week to a 5.4. Twentieth’s newcomer Modern Family slipped 3% to a 3.3, matching its season low. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved down 9% to a 3.0, also equalling its season low and tumbling 29% from last year at this time. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 7% to a 2.7. SPT’s Seinfeld sank 5% to a 1.9. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show sagged 5% to a 1.8. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother dropped 6% to a 1.7, tying Warner Bros.’ Friends, which was flat at a 1.7. Twentieth’s King of the Hill and Warner Bros.’ The Middle both were unchanged at a 1.6.
Three weekends into the Fox station group’s trial run of Laughs, the weekend half-hour is averaging a 0.4 rating/1 share in its metered markets, falling 50% from its average lead-in and losing 33% of its year-ago time period average. Another test, Hollywood Today Live, which has been running for five weeks, also averaged a 0.4/1, dropping 50% from its lead-in and 42% from its year-ago time periods. The group’s third summer test, The Daily Helpline, remained at a 0.1/0 average after five weeks, losing 66% of its lead-in and 75% of its year-ago time period average.
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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.
By Kent Gibbons