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Syndication Ratings: Syndies Ring In New Year

Syndicated shows came back strong in the week ending Jan. 4, even though that week included New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and plenty of college football.

CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight doubled the increase of any other access magazine, climbing 16% from the prior week to a 3.7 live plus same day national household average, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ET’s highest-rated show of the week came on Dec. 29, with a look back at some of the major stars that passed on in 2008, including Heath Ledger, Tim Russert, George Carlin and Charlton Heston. That episode saw ratings increase 31% to a 4.2. That week news broke about the Jan. 2 death of John Travolta’s 16-year-old son, Jett, an event that also heightened the magazine shows’ tune-in.

Most of the other magazines also were higher. CTD’s Inside Edition rose 8% to a 2.8. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood held steady at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ fell 10% to a 1.8. CTD’s The Insider climbed 6% to a 1.7 and Warner Bros.’ Extra gained 7% to a 1.6.

All of the game shows gained. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune added 4% to a 7.0. CTD’s Jeopardy! jumped  7% to a 5.8. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire advanced 8% to a 2.6. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud improved 8% to a 1.4.

Every rookie show improved. NBC U’s Deal or No Deal jumped 12% to a 1.9, matching its season high. CTD’s The Doctors, still the only freshman show to be renewed for season two, gained 6% to a 1.7. Sony’s Judge Karen, which won’t be back next year, gained 10% to a 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt climbed11% to a new series-high 1.0. Both Debmar-Mercury’s Trivial Pursuit: America Plays and Program Partners’ Family Court with Judge Penny were up 17% to a 0.7, a new series high for Family Court. While Trivial Pursuit is likely departing after this season, Program Partners says Family Court is heading for another year.

Among veteran daytime shows, most of the talkers were up. CTD’s Oprah added 13% to a 4.4. CTD’s Dr. Phil was up 10% to a 3.2. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly had the largest decline of any first-run strip at a 0.5 rating or better, sinking 16% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres dropped 5% to a 2.0. CTD’s Rachael Ray matched its season high 1.9, gaining 6% and tying NBC U’s Maury, which also improved 6%. NBC U’s Jerry Springer rose 9% to a 1.2. NBC U’s Steve Wilkos climbed 22% to a 1.1.

Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet jumped 11% to a 1.0, equaling its season high. On New Year’s Day, guest Suzanne Somers drew a total audience of more than two million viewers.  The Morning Show tied Tyra Banks, both of which are departing syndication after this season, unchanged at a 1.0. NBC U’s Martha Stewart remained steady at a 0.8.

The top four court shows all were up. CTD’s Judge Judy increased 5% to a 4.3, holding an 87% ratings advantage over CTD’s second place Judge Joe Brown, which jumped 5% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court climbed 10% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis improved 12% to a 1.9. Twentieth’s Divorce Court, Judge Alex and Cristina’s Court and Sony’s Judge David Young, which will complete its run after this season, all were flat at a 1.5, 1.5, 1.1 and 0.9, respectively.

Off-net sitcoms held steady across the board. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men eked out a 2% improvement to a 4.4. Twentieth’s Family Guy and CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond each were flat at a 3.7 and 3.1, respectively. Sony’s Seinfeld inched up 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez fell 4% to a new season low 2.6. Warner Bros.’ Friends gained 4% to a 2.5, tying Sony’s King of Queens, which gained 9%.