Syndication Ratings: 'Swift Justice' Hits Series High

CBS Television Distribution's first-run rookie, Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, hit a series high 1.9 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen, in the week ending April 10. Swift Justice was the anomaly in a week in which most other syndies were flat or down as television viewership fell off by almost 1.4 million viewers. Swift Justice, which airs in one hour blocks of two-half hour episodes on weekday afternoons, was the only rookie to improve, jumping 6% over the prior week.

The week ending April 10 was the second week of Nielsen's new ratings methodology, in which all views of all runs are counted in a show's weekly audience average. That change has driven up the ratings of some shows, particularly ones that have robust ratings for their double-runs.

The rest of the rookie pack, which does not air in blocks of double-runs, did not fare as well as Swift Justice. Sony's Nate Berkus and Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics each sank 10% to a 0.9. Litton's Judge Karen's Court fell 11% to a 0.8, and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross was flat at a 0.3 for the fourth week in a row.

Elsewhere, CTD's Oprah, which has been hovering around its season low for the past three weeks, finally rebounded 15% from the prior week to a 3.9. Oprah returned to original episodes midway through the week.

In second place, CTD's Dr. Phil was unchanged at a 2.7, although it was one of only two talkers to improve year to year, gaining 13% from last year at this time. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, Sony's Dr. Oz and Warner Bros.' Ellen all were flat at a 2.6, 2.3 and 2.1, respectively. NBCUniversal's Maury dropped 5% to a 2.0. CTD's The Doctors held steady at a 1.7. CTD's Rachael Ray eased 6% to a 1.5. NBCU's Jerry Springer lost 7% to a 1.4. NBCU's Steve Wilkos tumbled 14% to a 1.2. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, now off of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, weakened 15% from the prior week to a 1.1, although year-to-year the show was up 10%.

CTD's game show leader, Wheel of Fortune, dipped 1% to a 6.9, but remained tied with Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men as syndication's top-rated show. CTD's Jeopardy! fell 2% to a 5.9. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud and Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire each were flat and remain tied at a 2.5, while Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader added 10% to a 1.1.

Among the magazines, CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight was unchanged at a 3.8, while ET Weekend surged 40% to a 2.1. CTD's Inside Edition upticked 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.' TMZ and NBCU's Access Hollywood each were flat at a 2.2 and 2.0, respectively. CTD's The Insider showed the most weekly improvement of any magazine, gaining 6% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra, which was the most preempted magazine due to March Madness and the Masters golf tournament, was off 12% to a 1.5. 

CTD's Judge Judy dominated daytime with a 6.6, off 6% from the prior week. CTD's Judge Joe Brown dipped 4% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.' People's Court eroded 5% to a 1.9. Twentieth's Judge Alex skidded 12% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and Twentieth's Divorce Court, both of which slid 6%. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro came in last at a 0.9, down 10%. 

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men softened 7% to a 6.9. Twentieth's Family Guy was flat at a 4.7. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids faded 6% to a 3.2. Warner Bros.' George Lopez and Sony's Seinfeld each were unchanged at a 3.0 and 2.8 respectively. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond ratcheted down 16% to a 2.7. NBCU's The Office drooped 7% to a 2.6. Twentieth's King of the Hill climbed 4% to a new season high 2.4. Warner Bros.' Friends advanced 5% to a new season high 2.2.

Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother and Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine each were flat at a 2.9 and 1.6, respectively. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns fell 7% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.' off-HBO Entourage was flat at a 0.7, while Warner's Curb Your Enthusiasm shrank 14% to a 0.6. NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives declined 17% to a 0.5.

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.