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Syndication Ratings: At Start of Sweep, Jenner Revelations Drive Magazines Up

Nearly all of the entertainment magazines climbed higher in a week that included coverage of Diane Sawyer’s high-profile interview with Bruce Jenner, the Olympic champion turned reality star who is now turning female.

The week ending April 26 included the first two week days of the May sweep, and new episodes and higher-profile marketing saw many shows hit five- or six-week highs.

CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight jumped 6% to a 3.4 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, the show’s highest number since the week of March 23 and a 3% improvement over last year at this time.

CTD’s Inside Edition added 3% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was flat at a 2.0, the only top-tier magazine not to gain on the week. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood gained 6% to a 1.7 and surged 13% from last year at this time, the biggest annual increase among the top-tier magazines. Warner Bros.’ Extra jumped 7% for the week and the year to a 1.5, that show’s best rating in five weeks. CTD’s The Insider climbed 8% for the week and year to a 1.3.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation and Trifecta’s OK! TV both were flat at a 1.1 and 0.2, respectively.

CTD’s Dr. Phil took the early talk lead with a 10% gain to a 3.4, marking the show’s 15th straight first-place finish, including ties with Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, and the 30th time in the past 34 weeks that Phil has led the talkers. Among women 25-54, Dr. Phil also led with a 13% leap to a 1.7.

Live improved 7% for the week and the year to a second-place 3.0. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres took third with an 8% rise to a 2.6. NBCU’s Maury and Steve Harvey rounded out the top five, holding steady at a 1.9 and 1.8, respectively.

Among women 25-54, Maury tied Ellen for third place at a 1.4, behind Dr. Phil’s 1.7 and Live at a 1.5.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams rallied 21% for the week and the year, the most of any talker, to a sixth-place 1.7 in households. Wendy also climbed 9% among women 25-54 to a 1.2.

Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz perked up 7% to a 1.5 after five weeks in a row at a 1.4. Compared to the same week one year ago, Dr. Oz, which has been under fire recently, was down the most of any talker, dropping 25%.

CTD’s Rachael Ray, which had the second strongest year-to-year increase after Wendy, gained 8% for the year and held for the week at a 1.3. That tied NBCU’s steady Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos, which lost 7%.

Warner Bros.’ The Real was flat at a 1.1, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which added 10% to its highest rating in five weeks. NBCU’s Meredith Vieira slipped 9% to a 1.0.

CTD’s Judge Judy added 5% to lead the courts at a 6.7, that show’s biggest number in six weeks. CTD’s Hot Bench came in second, although it dropped 5% from its series high to 1.8. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Twentieth’s Divorce Court were unchanged at a 1.7 and 1.4, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis dropped 7% to a 1.3. MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court and Trifecta’s Judge Faith both were flat at a 1.1 and 0.7, respectively.

CTD’s number-one and two games broke out of a tie, with Wheel of Fortune inching ahead with a 3% rise to a 6.8, while Jeopardy! upticked 2% to a 6.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud also nudged ahead 2% to a 6.2, up 27% from last year at this time. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire grew 6% to a 1.7, but was down 19% from last year at this time. Debmar-Mercury’s newcomer Celebrity Name Game advanced 8% to a 1.4, after four straight weeks at a 1.3.

MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute fell 7% to a 1.4.

Counter to the overall uptrend, off-net sitcoms were mostly down or flat, which is typical as the days grow longer and warmer. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory managed to gain 4% for the week to a 5.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family lost 3% to a 3.4, equalling that show’s season low. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men stayed at a 2.8. Twentieth’s Family Guy faded 4% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike & Molly recovered 5% to a 2.2. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother dropped 9% to a new season low 2.0. SPT’s Seinfeld, just sold to Hulu, sagged 5% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ The Middle moved down 6% to a 1.7, tying Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show, which was unchanged at a 1.7. Twentieth’s King of the Hill declined 6% to a 1.5.

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.