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Syndication Ratings: Syndies Sleepy in Heat of Summer

After a week of across-the-board gains, syndicated shows weakened in the week ending July 20, hit by declining levels of TV viewers and heavy preemptions due to coverage of the July 17 shooting down of a Malaysian Air jetliner with nearly 300 people on board in Ukraine.

Only one talk show in the top nine gained for the week: CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil, which rose 8% with a mixture of originals and repeats to a first-place 2.7, the show’s highest rating and its first outright first place in five weeks.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael was right behind with a steady 2.6, up 8% from last year.

After Live, third place dropped eight-tenths of a ratings point, with Warner Bros.’ Ellen flat at a 1.8 and down 5% from last year. NBCUniversal’s Maury slipped 11% to a 1.7. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz eased 6% to a 1.6 with a week of four repeats. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was steady at a 1.5 with five originals. NBCU’s Steve Harvey dropped 13% to a 1.3 in a week of reruns. Disney-ABC’s Katie, which is nearing its conclusion, and NBCU’s SteveWilkos, both were unchanged at a 1.3. Compared to last year, Katiewas down 24% while Wilkos was up 8%.

NBCU’s JerrySpringer was one of the few shows above the 1.0 rating level to grow for the week, improving 9% to a 1.2, and tying CTD’s RachaelRay, which remained at a 1.2. CTD’s The Doctors held firm at a 1.0. NBCU’s already canceled Trisha climbed 25% from a 0.4 to a 0.5, and Meredith’s The Better Show fell 50% to a 0.1 after 31 straight weeks at a 0.2.

SPT’s Queen Latifah, the only newcomer to succeed at earning a second season, was off 10% to a 0.9 in both repeat and original episodes during the week. CTD’s The Test was positive with a 20% from a 0.5 to a 0.6, while Warner Bros.’ Bethenny sank 17% to a new season low 0.5, tying CTD’s out of production Arsenio Hall, which was flat for the fifth week in a row.

In court, shows were mostly down or flat after gaining ground in the previous session, however, MGM’s newcomer Paternity Court moved up 11% to a 1.0, but still trailed the field.

CTD’s Judge Judy was in repeats all week, dipping 6% to a 6.5, but remaining syndication’s top-rated show for the 17th straight week.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court tumbled 11% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.4, tying Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which sagged 7%. Twentieth’s Judge Alex, which won’t return, faded 14% to a new season-low 1.2.

Games were lackluster, with CTD’s Wheel of Fortune flat for the week at a 5.8. CTD’s Jeopardy! came right behind, losing 2% to a 5.6. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 4% to a 4.4, while Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, in its last weeks with Cedric the Entertainer as host, devalued 5% to a 1.9.

The top magazines moved sideways to down slightly, after seeing broad gains in the prior week.

CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight eased 3% from the prior frame to a 2.9. CTD’s Inside Edition eroded 7% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, NBCU’s Access Hollywood, Warner Bros.’ Extra and CTD’s The Insider all held steady at a 1.7, 1.4, 1.3 and 1.2, respectively. Compared to last year at this time, all of the top six magazines were down, except Extra, which was even. 

Twentieth’s Dish Nation climbed 10% to a 1.1, after holding at a 1.0 for 11 consecutive weeks. Compared to last year, Dish Nation is up 22%.

MGM’s RightThisMinute declined 9% to a 1.0. Trifecta’s OK! TV sank 25% to a 0.3, tying Trifecta’s America Now, which remained at a 0.3 for the ninth straight week. America Now is out of production, but Raycom stations will still air recut episodes this season.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory slumped 7% to a 5.4. Twentieth’s rookie Modern Family matched its season low, sliding 6% to a 3.3. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men inched up 3% to a 3.2, nearly tying Modern Family. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 4% to a 2.7. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show added 5% to a 2.0. SPT’s Seinfeld slipped 5% to a 1.9. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and Warner Bros.’ Friends both were flat at a 1.8 and 1.7, respectively. Twentieth’s King of the Hill declined 6% to a 1.6 and Warner Bros.’ The Middle dropped 12% to a 1.5.

In the metered markets, the second complete week of Hollywood Today Live’s trial run on nine Fox stations lost 20% from week one, dropping to a 0.4 rating/1 share average. This was down 55% from its average lead-in and down 42% from its year-ago time period average. A second test, The Daily Helpline, remained at a 0.1/0 in week two, down 66% from its lead-in and down 80% from its year-ago time period average.