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Syndication Ratings: Syndies Continue to Climb as Sweeps Set In

Neither blizzards nor baseball could hold back syndies as they headed into the November sweep, which kicked off Oct. 27 and runs through Nov. 23.

Many shows faced preemptions from baseball's World Series or the surprise snowstorm that knocked out power for much of the Northeast, but ratings for most shows grew or held steady.

CBS Television Distribution's Judge Judy opened the sweep strong, hitting a season-high 7.1 live plus same day national household rating average, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up 6% from the prior week and up 69% from last year, although last year Nielsen was only counting primary runs in its average audience (AA) rating, and now Nielsen counts all runs in that rating. Other court shows don't have nearly as strong as double runs as Judy does, which typically airs in two-episode, one-hour blocks in early fringe on strong stations.

On the sweep's first day, Judy scored its best day this season, hitting a 7.5, up 12% from the prior week.
CTD's Judge Joe Brown gained 4% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' People's Court was flat at a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis added 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Judge Alex, CTD's Swift Justice, Twentieth's Divorce Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross all were unchanged at a 1.6, 1.4, 1.4 and 0.9, respectively.

CTD's Dr. Phil claimed the top talk slot for the sixth time in seven weeks, including one tie with Sony's Dr. Oz, gaining 4% to a 2.9 in households. Dr. Oz added 8% to a 2.8. Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, in the final weeks of Regis' nearly 30-year run, climbed 4% to a 2.7. NBCUniversal's Maury was flat at a 2.3, tying Warner Bros.' Ellen, which climbed 5%. CTD's Rachael Ray had the largest increase of any talk show, rallying 13% to a new season-high 1.7. Rachael's biggest draw was a show with TV chef Emeril Lagasse that sent ratings up 20% to a 1.8, on the sweep's first day. CTD's The Doctors grew 7% to a 1.5, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which also grew 7%. NBCU's Steve Wilkos picked up 8% to a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was flat at a 1.1, tying Sony's Nate Berkus, which recovered 10%.

NBCU's slow roll-out Access Hollywood Live held steady week to week at a 0.8 rating/3 share in its 17 metered markets, which include the NBC-owned stations and some Fox stations.

CTD's Excused, a new late-night dating show, had the biggest gain of any rookie first run show, spiking 40% to a new season high 0.7 in households and double-digit percentage gains in every key female demographic.
Among the daytime rookies, Warner Bros.' Anderson was preempted several times for the World Series in large markets, and slipped 7% to a 1.3. Entertainment Studios' We the People with Gloria Allred climbed 20% to a new season high 0.6. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle was flat at a 0.5.

In access, CTD's Entertainment Tonight eased 3% to a 3.8. CTD's Inside Edition dropped to a new season low, fading 9% to a 2.9. NBCU's Access Hollywood, one of only two magazines to improve from the prior session, gained 6% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' TMZ was flat at a 1.8. CTD's Insider, the other magazine to grow, advanced 6% in households to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra, which didn't air in several large markets due to baseball, held steady at a 1.5.

CTD's Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! each were flat at a 7.0 and 5.9, respectively. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud tacked on 3% to hit a new season-high 3.0. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire climbed 4% to also hit a new season-high 2.6.

Among the veteran off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men dipped 2% to a 5.9. Twentieth's Family Guy inched up 3% to a 3.9. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother climbed 6% to a 3.4. Sony's Seinfeld and Warner Bros.' Friends each advanced 4% to a 2.5. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond also rose 4% to a 2.4, while Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.0.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory held steady at a 5.1, ranking second among all off-net sitcoms. NBCU's 30 Rock, cleared mostly in late fringe, also held steady at a 1.4. Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia remained at a 1.2. Sony's ‘Til Death was the only rookie sitcom to improve, gaining 17% to a 0.7.

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.