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Syndication Ratings: Talk Vets Premiere Seasons With Higher Ratings

NBCUniversal trio of conflict talkers Maury, Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer as well as Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray and Sony Pictures Television’s Queen Latifah all opened their seasons to higher ratings in the week ended Sept. 21. Meanwhile, all but one of the veteran talkers that had already premiered lost ground in their second weeks.

One big distraction in daytime was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Sept. 19 press conference on the league efforts around domestic violence, which was carried by all networks and many independents and caused numerous preemptions.

CTD’s Hot Bench was this season’s highest-rated rookie in its debut on the national chart with a 1.3 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Among women 25-54, Hot Bench averaged a 0.7. Hot Bench, a panel talk show created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, scored that household number despite being cleared on mostly lower rated stations. Only one court show of the 16 entries in the past eight years has opened with a higher national rating than Hot Bench: CTD’s Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, which premiered four years ago at a 1.4.

Among the other rookies, NBCU's Meredith Vieira dipped 8% from its 1.3 premiere to a 1.2 in households, while averaging a 0.6 among women 25-54. Week one of Warner Bros.’ The Real bowed at a 1.0 in households and a 0.8 among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, which unlike the daytime newcomers, has access clearances in many markets, debuted Sept. 22 to a 0.8 rating/2 share primary-run household first-week average in the metered markets. That’s down 27% from its 1.1/3 lead-in and down 33% from its 1.2/3 year-ago time period average.

CTD’s Dr. Phil remained at the top of the talkers for third week in a row. Phil dipped 3% for the week, but improved 3% for the year, to a 3.1 in households. Among women 25-54, Phil led the talkers at a 1.6.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael grabbed sole possession of second place with a 2.8 in households and a 1.4 among women 25-54, that show’s highest-rated three-week start in seven years.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen eroded 11% in its second week of the new season to a third-place 2.5 in households and fell 19% to a 1.3 among women 25-54. NBCU’s Maury gained 11% to a 2.0 in its 24th season premiere, and jumped 8% in the demo to a 1.3, tying Ellen.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey fell 5% from its season opener and 10% for the year to a 1.8 in households. Harvey dropped 10% for the year in the demo to a 0.9.

The season premiere of Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams climbed 45% to a 1.6, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which improved 14%. Both Williams and Wilkos rose 23% from their 2013 season premieres, marking the greatest annual increases of any talkers. Both also tied in the demo at a 1.1, an increase of 22% in the demo for both.

SPT’s Dr. Oz gave back 13% to a 1.4, tying NBCU’s Jerry Springer, which jumped 17% in its season premiere. CTD’s Rachael Ray rallied 8% to a 1.3 with its first serving of the new season.

SPT’s Queen Latifah improved 22% for the week to a 1.1 with its season premiere. Latifah also had its strongest showing in the metered markets in four months on Friday with special guest Denzel Washington appearing for the entire hour. The episode clocked a 1.2 rating/4 share, up 33% from the program’s September 2014 average.

CTD’s The Doctors, the only veteran talk show to rise in its second week of this season, added 11% to a 1.0.

Meredith’s The Better Show was flat at a 0.2, where it has remained for 40 of the past 41 weeks.

In court, CTD’s Judge Judy was far in front with a steady 7.1 in week two of its 19th season. Judy also led all of syndication for the 26th straight week.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court dropped off 11% to a 1.7 in its second week of the season, tying Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis sagged 7% to a 1.4, while MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court was flat at a 1.0.

In access, MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute climbed 7% from the prior week and 67% from last year to a 1.5 in the second week of its new season. The Fox Owned Television stations added RightThisMinute as a strip in several markets this fall, boosting its ratings.

Most of the veteran game shows made their season bows. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune opened with a 6.3, up 9% for the week and down 2% from last year at this time. CTD’s Jeopardy! buzzed in with a 6.1, up 7% from the previous week and 5% from last year. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud posted a 5.1, picking up 2% for the week and 11% from one year ago. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, with new host Terry Crews, dropped 5% from premiere and 14% from last year to a 1.9.

Magazines were all flat to down except for Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which up ticked 5% from a 1.9 to a third place 2.0. CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight dropped 3% to a 3.0 after being hit by heavy preemptions from Thursday Night Football on CBS. CTD’s Inside Edition was unchanged at a 2.8. NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which had skyrocketed 46% over the prior two weeks, descended 11% to a 1.7. Similarly, Warner Bros.’ Extra, which had shot up 23% in the previous session, gave back 6% to a 1.5. CTD’s The Insider, which, like Entertainment Tonight, was preempted by Thursday Night Football, held its ground at a 1.1, tying Twentieth’s Dish Nation, which was steady. Trifecta’s OK! TV remained at a 0.3 for the fifth week in a row.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory inched up 2% from the prior week to a 5.8. Twentieth’s Modern Family was unchanged at a 3.7. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men rose 3% to a 3.1. Twentieth’s Family Guy was flat at a 2.4. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother added 5% to a 2.3. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show was unchanged at a 1.9. SPT’s Seinfeld stood pat at a 1.8, tying Warner Bros.’ The Middle, which moved 13% higher to a 1.8.