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Syndication Ratings: Talk, Gossip Strong

Talk shows and magazines each held their own in the week ending May 18, the third week of the May sweep.

Six talk shows gained on the week while the other six were steady. CBS’ genre leader, The Oprah Winfrey Show, inched up 2% to a 5.9 live-plus-same-day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Oprah’s highest rating of the week wasa 6.7 Monday, May 12, with an episode featuring the world’s smartest kids.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly finally notched an improvement, jumping 4% to a third-place 2.6 after languishing at a new season low the prior week. NBC Universal’s Maury added 12% to a 1.9. CBS’ Montel Williams climbed 17% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks rose 10% to a 1.1 after getting a 20% boost May 13 to a 1.2 for a show on sexless marriages. And NBCU newcomer Steve Wilkos gained 11% to a 1.0.

Holding steady week-to-week were CBS’ No. 2 talker, Dr. Phil, at a 4.3; Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres at a 2.1; CBS’ Rachael Ray at a 1.8; NBCU’s Jerry Springer at a 1.1; Twentieth Television’s daytime rookie leader, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, which tied Wilkos at a 1.0; and NBCU’s Martha Stewart at a 0.8.

The wedding of first daughter Jenna Bush gave CBS’ Entertainment Tonight a 17% boost May 12 to a 4.8. For the week, ET climbed 5% to a 4.3. CBS’ Inside Edition gained 3% to a 3.1. CBS’ The Insider, NBCU’s Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.’ overall rookie leader, TMZ, again finished in a three-way tie for third, each flat at a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ Extra jumped 6% to a 1.8.

CBS’ court leader, Judge Judy, remained flat at a 4.7, although the show was one of three first-run strips to improve over last year at this time, gaining 4%. CBS’ Judge Joe Brown remained in second place with an unchanged 2.6. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court gained 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis rose 11% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Judge Alex each were unchanged at a 1.7. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court and Sony’s Judge Hatchett each climbed 9% to a 1.2. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez and Sony’s freshman court show, Judge David Young, each were flat at a 0.8. Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty fell 33% to a 0.2.

CBS’ Wheel of Fortune led the games, dipping 3% to a 6.9. CBS’ Jeopardy! was flat at a 5.9, although up 2% from the same week last year, making Jeopardy! the second strip to show year-to-year gains. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire rebounded 7% from a season low to a 2.9. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud averaged a 1.8, up 6% both week-to-week and year-to-year, the third and last strip to gain for the year. The two new games -- Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords and Twentieth’s Temptation -- each were flat at 0.7 and 0.4, respectively.

Freshmen Two and a Half Men and Family Guy continue to lead the off-net sitcoms with each show edging up 2% from the prior week to a 5.1 and a 4.2, respectively. Sony’s Seinfeld was unchanged at a 3.7. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond remained at its season-low 3.3 for a third consecutive week. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez dropped 9% to a 2.9. Sony’s King of Queens was up 4% to a 2.8, and Warner Bros.’ Friends was flat at a 2.6.