Syndication Ratings: Strong Week For Syndies

Shorter days are syndication’s gain in the week ending Oct. 18, with many daytime and access strips earning their best weeks of the season thus far.

Talk shows were especially strong with eight vets all improving on the prior week. CBS Television Distribution’s top talker Oprah inched up 2% from the week before to a 5.2. CTD’s Dr. Phil climbed 4% to a 2.8. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly rose 8% to a 2.6. CTD’s The Doctors matched their highest ratings ever with an 11% improvement to a 2.1. That’s a 24% increase from its season premiere last month and 40% from last year, and the biggest year-to-year improvement of any strip in syndication.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen surged 17% to tie The Doctors for fifth place overall among the talkers. NBCU’s Maury tacked on 12% to a 1.9. CTD’s Rachael Ray cooked up a 6% gain to a 1.7. NBCU’s Jerry Springer added 9% to a 1.2. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos dropped 9% to a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt and NBCU’s Martha Stewart held steady at a 0.8 and 0.6, respectively.

Sony's Dr. Oz – the only rookie talker – tied Regis and Kelly for third place among the talkers with an unchanged 2.6. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams fell 14% to a 1.2, tying Springer. Wendy’s run on the BET cable network accounted for about half of the loss. As for the other first-run rookies, Twentieth’s Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader was flat at a 1.6, while Litton’s Street Court picked up 17% to a 0.7.

Also in daytime, court shows were up across the board. CTD’s Judge Judy improved 5% to a 4.3, the show’s highest ratings since late March. Judy also was the only court room up from last year, inching up 2%. In second place, CTD’s Judge Joe Brown added 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court improved 6% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis climbed 7% to a 1.6. Twentieth’s Judge Alex added 15% to a 1.5. Twentieth’s Divorce Court gained 8% to a 1.4, and Warner Bros.’ Judge Jeanine Pirro jumped 11% to a 1.0.

Moving into access, all of the magazines were lively. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight scored its highest ratings in six months, advancing 2% for the week to a 4.4. CTD’s Inside Edition gained 7% to a 3.2. NBCU’s Access Hollywood up 5% to a 2.1. CTD’s The Insider grew 6% to a 1.9, its best showing in 25 weeks, tying Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Extra jumped 13% to a 1.8.

All of the magazines also were up nicely year to year, when levels were depressed in many cases by baseball playoffs.
Game shows also were up, with NBCU’s Deal or No Deal banking the biggest week-to-week improvement, gaining 18% to a 1.3. Meanwhile, CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, CTD’s Jeopardy! and Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire all jumped 9% to 7.2, 5.9 and 2.5, respectively. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 1.2.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men had its ratings reprocessed by Nielsen, making its national weekly ratings unavailable. Twentieth’s Family Guy was unchanged at a 3.4. Sony’s Seinfeld fell 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez surged 14% to a 2.4. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond climbed 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ Friends earned a 2.1 after being reprocessed the prior week. Twentieth’s King of the Hill was down 5% to a 2.0. Sony’s King of Queens dropped 6% to a 1.5, tying CTD’s Frasier, which was up 7%.

Among the off-net rookies, NBCU’s The Office slipped 3% to a 2.8, after running into baseball preemptions in 16 markets, including New York. The sitcom continued to be this season’s top-rated rookie and syndication’s second highest-rated show among women 18-34. Twentieth’s My Name is Earl rose 6% to a 1.8. CTD’s Everybody Hates Chris climbed 7% to a 1.5. Disney-ABC’s one-hour strip, America’s Funniest Home Videos, recorded a 17% hike to a 0.7. Trifecta’s Cold Case Files remained frozen at a 0.3.

Paige Albiniak

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.