Syndication Ratings: Syndies Celebrate Happy New Year

Syndies kicked off 2014 with a bang.

Most strips made up losses from Christmas week, even though most shows remained in holiday repeats and some programs were preempted by coverage of a severe winter storm on Jan. 2 and 3.

The top seven magazines, which had been battered in the week ending Dec. 29, all saw their ratings spike. Warner Bros.’ Extra had the largest week to week and year to year increases among the category vets, spiking 31% from the prior session to a 1.7, according to Nielsen Media Research. That matched its season high and tied Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which gained 13%, for third place. Compared to last year, Extra was up 13%.

CBS Television Distribution’s leader Entertainment Tonight jumped 25% to a 3.5. In second place, CTD’s Inside Edition climbed 12% to a 2.9. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood rallied 23% to a 1.6. CTD’s omg! Insider, in its final week before switching its name back to The Insider, strengthened 18% to a 1.3.

New this year to the national list, MGM’s RightThisMinute gained 33% to a new season high 1.2. Twentieth’s sophomore Dish Nation was flat at a 0.9.

Trifecta’s America Now remained at a 0.3 for the 15th week out of the last 16. Trifecta’s rookie OK! TV, which was just renewed for a second season, was flat at a 0.2 for the 17th consecutive week.

Among game shows, Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire showed the biggest improvement, rocketing 21% to a new season-high 2.3 and that show’s best overall performance since last April.

CTD’s category leader Wheel of Fortune recovered 11% to a 6.8. CTD’s Jeopardy! also rebounded 11%, finishing at a 6.2. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud with host Steve Harvey climbed 12% to a 5.5.

In daytime, Disney/ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael won the talk race for second straight week with mainly pre-taped and re-packaged episodes. Live rose 13% for the week and 26% for the year to a 3.4, it’s highest rating since the final days of Regis Philbin's farewell in November 2011. Live also led the talk field among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 at a 1.9.

In second place, CTD’s Dr. Phil gained 17% for the week and 4% for the year to a 2.7, despite being in repeats all week.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen was flat at a 2.4, remaining at its season low. NBCU’s Maury dipped 5% to a 2.1. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz did not report a rating for the week.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey climbed 19% to a 1.9, equalling its series high even though the show was almost in all repeats for the week. Year to year, Harvey gained 36%, the most of any talk show in the top ten. Disney/ABC’s Katie perked up 13% to a 1.8. CTD’s Rachael Ray raced ahead 13% to a 1.7. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer held steady at a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively.

CTD’s The Doctors improved 8% to a 1.3, tying Springer. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams picked up 20% to a 1.2. NBCU’s Trisha took her show up 20% for the week to a 0.6 and gained 50% from last year. Meredith’s The Better Show was flat at a 0.2.

SPT’s recently renewed Queen Latifah, in reruns, held steady at a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ Bethenny, also in repeats, surged 13% to a 0.9 in households and grew 17% among women 25-54, tying Latifah at a 0.7. Further back, CTD’s The Test ticked up 17% to a 0.7. In late night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall was flat at a 0.6.

In the metered markets, CTD’s Serch, which began a four-week test on eight Tribune-owned markets on Jan. 6, averaged a 1.0 rating/3 share in its first week in households. That’s even with its year-ago time periods and down 17% from its 1.2/3 lead-in average.

Among women 25-54, Serch clocked a 0.6/3, holding steady with year-ago time periods and taking KTLA Los Angeles’ 4 p.m. time slot up 100% over what the long-running Maury was doing in that time period last January.

Back in the national ratings, CTD’s Judge Judy led a strong courtroom contingent, jumping 18% to a 7.2, and topping all syndicated shows for the 20th week in a row, including ties, even though the show was in reruns all week.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was second among the courts, improving 12% to a 1.9 and tying Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which advanced 19% to a new season high. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved up 13% to a new season high 1.8. Twentieth’s Judge Alex was unchanged at a 1.6. MGM’s rookie Paternity Court was up 10% to a new season high 1.1.

In off-net syndication, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory added 11% to a 6.3. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men bounced up 9% from its prior frame’s season-low to a 3.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy, now heading into third-cycle sales, gained 7% to a 3.1. Twentieth’s How I Met your Mother moved ahead 5% to a 2.3. Twentieth’s King of the Hill climbed 6% to a 1.9. SPT’s Seinfeld slipped 5% to a 1.8, tying Warner Bros.’ Friends, which was flat.

Among the rookie sitcoms, Twentieth’s Modern Family continued to lead the newcomers, growing 7% from the previous week to a 4.8. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show added 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ The Middle rose 15% to a 1.5, while SPT’s Community, which resumed its network run this month on NBC, gained 25% to a new series-high 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.