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Syndication Ratings: Syndies Down as Country Faced Default

Viewers may have been more concerned about their country facing default than with watching daytime television in the week ending August 7.

During that week, many daytime shows were preempted in favor of news coverage on Tuesday, Aug. 2, when Congress finally voted to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default. Overall, levels of people using television declined from the prior week by more than 800,000 viewers on average and most shows were flat to down.

Only one talk show improved from the prior week, and that was CBS Television Distribution's The Doctors. Despite being in repeats, the show improved 7% week to week and year to year to a 1.5, marking the show's highest rating in 12 weeks.

Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly hung on to the talk lead despite falling 8% to a 2.3. CTD's Dr. Phil held firm at a 2.2, tying NBCUniversal's Maury, which dropped 8%. Sony's Dr. Oz fell 5% to a 1.9, tying CTD's Oprah, which was flat at its all-time-low 1.9 for a second week. NBCU's Jerry Springer was unchanged at a 1.5. Warner Bros.' Ellen skidded 7% to a 1.4. CTD's Rachael Ray remained at a 1.3. NBCU's Steve Wilkos declined 8% to a 1.2, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams fell 11% to a 0.8.

CTD's Judge Judy continued to be the highest rated show in syndication, hitting a 6.5, off 6% from the prior session but still up 55% from last year at this time. Judy also notched the 777th week in a row as syndication's number one court show.

Elsewhere in court, CTD's Judge Joe Brown gave back 7% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.' People's Court dropped 5% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis lost 6% to a 1.5, landing in a three-way tie with Twentieth's court duo of Divorce Court and Judge Alex, both of which climbed 7%. Warner Bros.' exiting Judge Jeanine Pirro declined 11% to a 0.8.

Twentieth's Dish Nation, an entertainment news program that's getting a six-week tryout on Fox stations in select markets, posted 0.9/2 metered market household average for its first three week. That's down 31% from its 1.3/3 share lead-in and down 50% from its 1.8/4 year-ago time period average.

Debmar-Mercury's Father Albert, a talk show that Fox stations also are testing, averaged a 0.7/2 in the metered markets for its full five-week summer test run. That's down 36% from its 1.1/3 lead-in average, although up 17% from its 0.6/2 August 2010 time period average. Father Albert is not expected to go forward.

Among the nationally rated newcomers, CTD's Swift Justice remained in the lead with a steady 1.5. Twentieth's already-canceled Don't Forget the Lyrics jumped 13% to a 0.9. Sony's Nate Berkus, Litton's canceled Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross all were flat at a 0.8, 0.7 and 0.4, respectively.

Game shows were down or flat. CTD's Wheel of Fortune faded 5% to a 6.0. CTD's Jeopardy! eroded 6% to a 5.1. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was unchanged at a 2.6. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire down-ticked 4% to a 2.3, while Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, heading into the end of its run, was flat at a 1.0.

Magazines, which had been buoyed by coverage of Amy Winehouse's death in the prior frame, gave back some of their gains. CTD's Entertainment Tonight eased 6% to a 3.3. CTD's Inside Edition, the only magazine to decline in the previous week, edged up 4% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ sank 5% to a 1.8. NBCU's Access Hollywood yielded 11% to a 1.6. CTD's The Insider held steady at a 1.5, while Warner Bros.' Extra, which is adding Maria Menounos as co-host this fall, dipped 7% to a 1.4.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' leader Two and a Half Men grew 2% from the prior week to a 6.1. Twentieth's Family Guy tacked on 2% to a 4.5. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids softened 6% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' George Lopez was unchanged at a 2.6, tying CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Sony's Seinfeld, which each added 4%. NBCU's The Office was downsized 13% to a 2.1, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which dropped 9% to a 2.1. Twentieth's That 70s Show deteriorated 9% to a 2.0, while Warner Bros.' Friends advanced 6% to a 1.9.

Finally, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother continued to lead the new off-cable and off-net strips at an unchanged 2.7. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine climbed 8% to a 1.4, while Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns receded 7% to a 1.3.