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Syndication Ratings: Sochi Olympics Takes Steam Out of Syndies

While many shows suffered or were broken out during NBC’s airing of the Winter Olympics in the week ending Feb. 16, NBCU’s Access Hollywood benefited by being on the scene in Sochi.

Besides being the only top-tier magazine to improve on the week, Access Hollywood also hit its highest ratings in two years, growing 5% from the previous week and 22% from last year to hit a season high 2.2 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Meanwhile, CTD’s magazine leader, Entertainment Tonight, in competition with the Olympics in many markets, slipped 15% to a 3.5. CTD’s Inside Edition dropped 20% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which often airs in late-fringe, was flat at a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which faced massive preemptions due to the Olympics, will not count the week’s ratings in its series average. CTD’s The Insider lost 13% to a 1.3. MGM’s RightThisMinute, which started a late-fringe run on HLN, moved up 9% to a 1.2. Twentieth’s Dish Nation and Trifecta's recently canceled America Now were both flat at a 1.1 and a 0.4, respectively. Trifecta’s rookie OK! TV tumbled 33%, or one-tenths of a ratings point, to a 0.2.

A number of other shows with numerous clearances on NBC affiliates also elected to code out their ratings during the Olympic weeks, which is the first time Nielsen has allowed that to happen.

Also in access, CTD’s Wheel of Fortune weakened 5% from the prior week to a 7.2. CTD’s Jeopardy! sagged 8% to a 6.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 5% to a 5.7, while Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire eroded 8% to a 2.2.

In late-night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall climbed 14% to a 0.8 despite being up against the Olympics, that show’s best rating in 20 weeks. Starting Feb. 17, Arsenio Hall faces competition from NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In daytime, not one of the talk shows improved from the prior week. CTD’s usual talk leader, Dr. Phil, was widely preempted in addition to competing with the Sochi games, dropping 24% from its five-year high in the prior week to a 3.1. That tied Disney/ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which also faced plenty of preemptions due to weather-related programming as storms swept the Eastern half of the country, and slipped 14%. Still, Live improved 19% over the prior year, more than any other talker except Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams. Wendy improved 23% from the same week last year to a 1.6, down 6% for the week.

In third place, NBCU’s Maury posted a 2.2, dipping 4% from its season high. CTD’s Rachael Ray declined 12% to a 1.5, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which declined 6%. NBCU’s Jerry Springer eased 7% to a 1.3, while CTD’s The Doctors and NBCU’s Trisha each were off 14% to a 1.2 and a 0.6, respectively.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ Ellen, SPT’s Dr. Oz, NBCU’s Steve Harvey, Disney/ABC’s Katie and SPT’s rookie Queen Latifah all chose not to count their ratings in the face of the Winter Games.

Among the other newcomers, Warner Bros.’ Bethenny, which will end its run after this season, sank 10% to a 0.9, while CTD’s The Test was flat at a 0.7.

CTD’s Judge Judy, which had hit an 11-year high in the previous session, also ran into the games and gave back 12% to a 7.6, although it still managed to be up 3% from last year at this time. Judy remained syndication’s top show for the 23rd time in the past 25 weeks, including ties.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court slumped 5% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Judge Alex both were flat at a 1.8, tying Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, which rose 6% to a 1.8. MGM’s Paternity Court faded 8% to a 1.1.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 9% to a 6.4. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved down 3% to a 3.9. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 6% to a 2.9. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother, Warner Bros.’ Friends, SPT’s Seinfeld and Rules of Engagement, and Twentieth’s King of the Hill all were steady at a 2.3, 1.9, 1.9, 1.7 and 1.6, respectively.

Twentieth’s Modern Family continued to lead the off-net rookies, but fell 10% to a 4.7. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show was unchanged at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ The Middle softened 6% to a 1.5, while SPT’s Community jumped 25% — or one-tenths of a ratings point — against the Olympics to a 0.5, equalling its season high.