Syndication Ratings: The Steve Wilkos Show Leads Pack

NBC Universal’s The Steve Wilkos Show turned in the best performance of this fall’s five new first-run strips and two new off-net sitcoms that debuted Monday.

Wilkos was the only first-run show that managed to outperform its lead-in or hold its year-ago time period, averaging a 1.1 rating/4 share in 48 metered markets, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s up 22% from its average lead-in of a 0.9/3 and even with last year’s time-period average.

Wilkos airs mainly in morning and afternoon slots on The CW, MyNetworkTV and Fox stations. The show did not air in Chicago, its home market, due to a Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball game. Its best market was Charlotte, N.C, market No. 26, where it won its time period on WCCB at 2 p.m. with a 3.3/11, up 120% from its lead-in and a 27% improvement on its year-ago time-period average. In the country’s top market, New York, Wilkos took second on WPIX at noon with a 2.1/9.

Among the new half-hours, Warner Bros.’ celebrity gossip show, TMZ, which airs mainly in access and early and late fringe in 55 metered markets, premiered with a 2/4. That’s down 17% from its 2.4/5 average lead-in and off 9% from its 2.2/4 year-ago time-period average. TMZ’s best market was St. Louis, market No. 21, where it scored a 5.2/10 at 10:30 p.m. on KTVI. In New York, TMZ ended up in fifth place at a 1.9/4 at 6:30 p.m. on WNYW.

Sony’s Judge David Young, the court genre’s first openly gay judge, premiered with a 0.9/3. Young airs in mostly daytime slots in 51 metered markets. The show’s rating was unchanged from its lead-in and down just 10% from its year-ago time-period average. The show performed best in Memphis, Tenn., market No. 44, where it won its time period at 12:30 a.m. on WLMT with a 4.5/11. In New York, it came in fifth at 11 a.m. on WWOR at a 0.9/4.

Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords earned a 1.0/3, down 17% from its 1.2/3 lead-in and down 23% from its year-ago time-period average of 1.3/4. It aired mostly in afternoon time periods in 52 metered markets and did best in Tulsa, Okla., market No. 62, on KJRH at 4 p.m., where it got a 3.6/7. On the other hand, it only mustered a seventh-place 0.7/2 in New York at 4 p.m. on WNBC, where it replaced Warner Bros.’ Ellen and faces CBS’ powerhouse, The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Twentieth Television’s Temptation, a remake of Sale of the Century, ended up with a 0.7/2 in 45 metered markets, a 13% decline from its 0.8/3 lead-in and a drop of 36% from last year’s time-period average. Airing mainly in daytime slots, its best showing was in Dayton, Ohio, market No. 58, where at aired at 1:30 a.m. on WHIO and won first place with a 2.9/11. In New York, it came in sixth with a 0.5/2 at 2 p.m. on WWOR.

Two off-net sitcoms also premiered Monday. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men opened with a 2.0/4 in 55 metered markets, even with its lead-in and down 13% from last September’s 2.3/4. Twentieth’s Family Guy opened similarly with a 1.9/4 in 54 metered markets, also even with its lead-in and down 5% from last year’s 2.0/4.

In syndication’s biggest premiere, Oprah opened its 26th season with a first-time-ever premiere in New York’s Madison Square Garden with special guest David Letterman. The show scored a 5.3/14 in 51 metered markets, up 89% from its 2.8/7 lead-in and up 26% from last year.

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.