Syndication Ratings: Talk Tumbles As Summer Heats Up

Talk shows took it on the chin in
the week ended June 20, with most shows in repeats and coverage of the U.S.
Open golf tournament preempting top shows in several markets.

CBS Television Distribution's Oprah,
in repeats, dropped to its lowest mark in the show's 24-year history, hitting a
3.0 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen. That's down 17%
from the prior week, daytime's biggest week-to-week decline, and down 23% from
last summer. Oprah, like CTD's Dr. Phil, was preempted in several
markets for coverage of the US Open.

NBC Universal's Maury dropped
5% for the week to a 2.0, but was up 25% for the year. Sony's newcomer Dr.
, who just won the Daytime Emmy for best talk-show host, fell 10% to a
new series low 1.9. Warner Bros.' Ellen DeGeneres skidded 5% to a 1.8,
but was up 20% from last year. CTD's The Doctors -- named Outstanding
Informative Talk Show over the weekend - NBCU's Jerry Springer, CTD's Rachael
, NBCU's Steve Wilkos, Warner Bros.' Bonnie Hunt and
NBCU's Martha Stewart all were flat at 1.6, 1.4, 1.3, 1.3, 0.6, and 0.5,
respectively. Springer and Wilkos each were up year to year,
however, with Springer climbing 27% and Wilkos jumping 44% -- the
most of any talk show - compared to the same week last year. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy
dipped 9% compared to the prior week to a 1.0.

Among the court shows, CTD's
resilient Judge Judy dipped just 4% to a 4.3, but still gained 13% over
last year, dominating the genre and leading daytime.

CTD's Judge Joe Brown and
Warner Bros.' People's Court and Judge Mathis all were unchanged
at a 2.0, 1.9, and 1.7, respectively, while Twentieth's Judge Alex was
down 7% to a 1.3, tying Twentieth's flat Divorce Court. Warner Bros.' Judge
Jeanine Pirro
faded 9% to a 1.0. Litton's Street Court was unchanged
at a 0.5.

In access, magazines sank after
seeing boosts in the previous two weeks due to coverage of the financial saga
around child star Gary Coleman's death. CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight
dropped 12% to a 3.6 after being preempted by the NBA basketball championships
in several markets. CTD's Inside Edition was flat at a 2.7. Warner
Bros.' TMZ lost 5% to a 1.8. NBCU's Access Hollywood fell 11% to
a 1.7. CTD's The Insider eased 6% to a 1.6, and Warner Bros.' Extra
was down 6% to a 1.5.

Elsewhere in access, the top two
game shows tumbled to new season low marks with CTD's Wheel of Fortune
slipping 2% to a 5.7 and CTD's Jeopardy! sliding 4% to a 4.8. On the
other hand, Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was up 10% to a
2.3, while Debmar Mercury's Family Feud fell 7% to a 1.4. Twentieth's Are
You Smarter than a Fifth Grader
subtracted 8% to a 1.2, and NBCU's Deal
or No Deal
declined 8% to a 1.1.

Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men
remained atop the off-net sitcoms, dipping just 2% to a 4.2. Twentieth's Family
lost 6% to a 3.0, while CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond rose 3% to
a 3.0. Sony's Seinfeld stumbled 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' George
was down 8% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill decreased
4% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Friends faltered 5% to a 2.0.
Debmar-Mercury's House of Payne plunged 13% to a 1.4, tying CTD's Frasier,
which fell 7%, and Sony's King of Queens, which was unchanged.

Among the rookie off-nets, NBCU's The
dropped 7% to a 2.5. CTD's Everybody Hates Chris fell 11% to
a 1.6, and Twentieth's My Name is Earl was flat at a 1.5.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.