Syndication Ratings: Spring Dampens Syndie Growth

Spring’s longer days and warmer weather took its traditional toll on syndication in the week ending April 6, with most shows down or flat for the week.

Although the vast majority of talk shows were down or flat, the number one, two and three talkers and Sony Pictures Television’s top rookie Queen Latifah all outperformed the previous frame.

CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader, Dr. Phil, gained 3% from the prior week to a 3.0 live plus same day national household rating average, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Disney/ABC’s runner-up Live with Kelly and Michael, improved 4% to a 2.9 and increased 12% over last year at this time. Live is having its best season in seven years, and co-host Michael Strahan just added ABC’s morning talker, Good Morning America, to his schedule.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen rebounded 4% to a third-place 2.6.

After that, however, none of the veteran talkers advanced. SPT’s Dr. Oz dipped 5% to a 2.0. NBCUniversal’s Maury slipped 10% to a 1.9, tying NBCU's Steve Harvey, which also eased 10% for the week but was still up 20% from last year at this time, marking the biggest annual increase of any talker. Disney/ABC’s already-canceled Katie dropped 6% to a 1.5, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which held steady. CTD’s Rachael Ray receded 7% to a 1.3. NBCU’s Jerry Springer was off 8% to a 1.2, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which was flat. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, in repeats for the week, tumbled 21% to a 1.1. NBCU’s recently canceled Trisha lost 17% to a 0.5, while Meredith’s The Better Show was flat at a 0.2.

Queen Latifah grew more than any other talker for the week, jumping 20% to a 1.2 and opening its largest lead over the freshman field since its premiere week. In addition, Latifah leaped 50% among women 25-54 to a 0.9, tying Wendy Williams, which dropped 10% in the demo. That marked the show’s best demo performance since its debut week last September.

Warner Bros.’ Bethenny, which won’t return for a second season, remained at its series-low 0.7 for the fourth straight session. Further back, CTD’s The Test which, like Bethenny, won’t be back, was flat at a 0.6. In late-night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall gave back 13% to a 0.7.

Elsewhere, none of the court shows rose from the previous week. CTD’s leader Judge Judy backed off 3% from the previous week to a 7.2, still good enough to lead all of syndication for the 29th time in the last 32 weeks. In addition, Judy climbed 6% from last year at this time.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was a distant second, sliding 11% to a 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court, renewed for the next two TV seasons, declined 6% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis eroded 7% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth’s canceled Judge Alex, which also dropped 7%. MGM’s newcomer Paternity Court was flat at a 1.0.

In access, the top-tier magazines were mixed. CTD's leader, Entertainment Tonight, retreated 5% from the prior week to a 3.5 as Brad Bessey, executive producer of CTD’s The Insider and a 15-year veteran of ET, was named executive producer as ET as well. Meanwhile, The Insider, which was reformatted three months ago, increased 8% for the week and year to a 1.4, notching the largest gains among the mags by both measures.

CTD’s Inside Edition, in second place, was flat at a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ TMZ added 6% to a 1.9. NBCU’s Access Hollywood dipped 6% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Extra declined 12% to a 1.5.

MGM’s RightThisMinute slumped 8% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s Dish Nation was unchanged at a 1.0. Trifecta’s recently canceled America Now and rookie OK! TV both were flat at a 0.3.

The game shows almost saw a changing of the guard, with CTD’s Wheel of Fortune skidding 8% from the prior week to a 6.8, that show’s lowest rating since Christmas. On the other hand, CTD’s Jeopardy! just missed snatching the category lead, climbing 8% to a 6.7. Jeopardy!, in its 30th season, aired its Battle of the Decades Tournament from March 31 - April 4.

Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud faded 6% to a 4.9, while Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire sank 5% to a 2.1, that show’s lowest rating in six weeks.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 5% from the prior week to a 6.0. Twentieth’s rookie Modern Family dipped 2% to a 4.2. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men weakened 8% to a 3.3. Twentieth's Family Guy grew 12% to a 2.8. SPT’s Seinfeld strengthened 6% to a 1.9, topping Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother for the first time this season. Mother, which ended its network run on March 31, deteriorated 18% to a new season-low 1.8, tying Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and Warner Bros.' Friends, both of which were flat.

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.