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Syndication Ratings: Syndies Slow Down at Sweep's End

Like their network counterparts, the majority of syndicated shows were flat to slightly lower in the 2014 November sweep.

Talk was a bright spot, however, with four of the top six up in household ratings, one even and one slightly down: Warner Bros.’ Ellen.

At the top of the list, CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil solidified his position as talk’s dominant force, winning its ninth major sweep in a row with a 3.5 household average, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was up 3% from last year and the show’s strongest November sweep performance since 2008. Phil also was the highest-rated talker among women 25-54 with a 1.8.

Ellen came next in the demo at a 1.7, although the show was down 3% in households from last year to a third-place 2.9. Ellen was followed by Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael at a 1.6. In households, Live had its best November in three years, since Regis Philbin bid farewell in 2011. Live climbed 7% from last year to a 3.1 household sweep average.

NBCUniversal’s Maury held steady at a 2.1. NBCU’s Steve Harvey, in its third year, scored its biggest November sweep yet, improving 6% to a 1.9.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams rose 14% to a November sweep high 1.6. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos gained 7% to a 1.5, matching its previous best November sweep mark and tying Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz slipped 32%, mainly due to the loss of numerous secondary runs and time period downgrades, landing at a 1.5. On the bright side, Oz’s ratings climbed 7% from last November on stations in top-20 markets where the show’s time slot remained the same.

CTD’s Rachael Ray receded 7% to a 1.4, but outperformed last year in top markets, finishing first in Los Angeles at KABC at 1 p.m., and giving WABC New York its highest November ratings in five years at 10 a.m. Ray also finished the sweep with a new season-high 1.6 in the week ending November 30.

NBCU’s Jerry Springer was steady at a 1.3. SPT’s Queen Latifah held firm at a 1.1, despite nearing the end of its run. CTD’s The Doctors, with weaker time periods in some markets, relinquished 8% to a 1.1, but ended the sweep on a high note, hitting a new season best 1.2 in the final week of the survey period. Further back, Meredith’s The Better Show was unchanged at a 0.2.

Elsewhere in daytime, most courts dropped a bit. TV’s top jurist, CTD’s Judge Judy was off, backtracking 4% from series record numbers in November 2013 to a 7.2, but only one-tenth of a point behind CTD’s Wheel of Fortune for overall first place in the sweep. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court dropped 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth’s Divorce Court also sagged 6% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis tumbled 13% to a 1.4, while MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court spurted 30% to a 1.3.

Among the first-run rookies, CTD’s Hot Bench remained hot in households, averaging a 1.7 for the sweep, up 31% from its September premiere. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, which has access clearances in several top 30 markets, posted a 1.3, followed by NBCU’s already renewed Meredith Vieira at a 1.2, Warner Bros.’ The Real at a 1.0 and Trifecta’s Judge Faith at a 0.7.

Among women 25-54, Hot Bench finished in first place with a 0.8 demo rating. Celebrity Name Game followed with a 0.7, tying The Real. Meredith was right behind at a 0.6, while Trifecta’s Judge Faith trailed with a 0.3.

Among game shows, the biggest gainer was Debmar-Mercury's Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud, which leaped 19% from last November to a 6.2. CTD’s leader Wheel of Fortune fell 1% to a 7.3. CTD’s Jeopardy! jumped 6% to a 6.9, while Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire faded 10% to a 1.9.

Elsewhere, MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute with many more clearances this November than last, ballooned 55% to a 1.7.

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight was tops for the 96th sweep in a row, dating back 24 years, despite easing 8% from last November to a 3.6. CTD’s Inside Edition climbed 7% to a 3.2. Warner Bros.’ TMZ and NBCU’s Access Hollywood both held steady at a 1.9 and 1.8, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Extra was off 12% to a 1.5, thanks to heavy preemptions for football, news reports and holiday programming. CTD’s The Insider dropped 13% to a 1.3.

Rounding out the category, Twentieth’s Dish Nation climbed 11% to a 1.0, while Trifecta’s OK! TV was flat at a 0.2.

In off-net syndication, top sitcoms all were down except Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother, which improved 19% from last November to a 2.5 in its fifth season in syndication, and SPT’s long-running Seinfeld, which strengthened 6% to a 1.8 in its 20th year. Warner Bros.’ highest-rated laffer, The Big Bang Theory, dipped 3% to a 6.1 in its fourth season in off-net syndication. Twentieth’s Modern Family declined 13% to a 4.1 in year two. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, which is in its last season on CBS, sank 19% to a 3.0 in year eight. Twentieth’s Family Guy also in year eight gave back 17% to a 2.5, tying How I Met Your Mother. Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike & Molly averaged a 2.2 in its first sweep. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show slumped 20% to a 1.6 in year two. Warner Bros.’ The Middle, also in its second season, fell 7% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth’s King of the Hill, which deteriorated 22% to a 1.4 in year 14.