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Syndication Ratings: Talkers Up as February Sweep Winds Down

Syndies came on strong in the third full week of the
February sweep, the week ending Feb. 24. This year's February sweeps period
kicked off on Jan. 31 and came to a close on Feb. 27.

Talk shows were the week's star performers with three
hitting new season highs: CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil, and
NBCUniversal's Steve Wilkos and newcomer Steve Harvey

Dr. Phil scored its best rating in more than a year,
a 3.5 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen Media
Research, up 9% for the week and the year. Phil also was tops among
women 25-54, improving 11% to a 2.0 in daytime's key demographic.

The race for second place continues to be tight between
Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael and Warner Bros.' Ellen
. Both shows climbed 8% from the prior week, tying at a 2.8. Year
to year, Live! is flat in households, while Ellen is up 12%.

In fourth place, Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz added
4% for the week to a 2.6, but is still down 13% from last year at this time.

NBCUniversal's Maury grew 9% to a 2.5 and fifth place
among households, but continued to lead the talk field among women 18-49 and
women 18-34 with a 1.7 and 1.5, respectively. 

Wilkos, which is emerging as a rising star in its
sixth season, posted its best week ever, jumping 6% for the week and 21% for
the year, to a new all-time high 1.7. That marks the largest year-to-year
increase of any talk show.

Meanwhile, CTD's Rachael Ray cooked up weekly and
yearly gains of 6% to tie Wilkos.

NBCU's Jerry Springer was flat at a 1.5 for the
seventh straight week. CTD's The Doctors climbed 8% to a 1.4.
Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams held steady at a 1.3. Warner Bros.' Anderson
, which will end its run after this season, advanced 10% to a 1.1,
while Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, which also will leave the air after
this season, came in last, and was the only talk show to decline, sliding 17%
to a 0.5.

Among the talk rookies, Steve Harvey had its best
week yet, rallying 6% to a new series high 1.7 and further closing the
household gap with this season's rookie leader, Disney-ABC's Katie,
which also added 6% to a 1.9. Among women 25-54, however, Harvey
continued to prevail, moving up 10% to a 1.1, to top the freshman talkers in
the key demo for the second week in a row.

CTD's canceled Jeff Probst strengthened 14% to a 0.8,
tying Twentieth's also-canceled Ricki Lake, which was flat. NBCU's
, which will return next season, was steady at its series-high 0.6.

Among the court shows, CTD's Judge Judy clocked a new
season-high 7.6, up 3% both for the week and the year to lead all shows in
daytime. In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown improved 4% to a 2.5.
Warner Bros.' People's Court and Judge Mathis each were flat at a
1.9 and 1.6, respectively. Twentieth's Judge Alex added 8% to a 1.4, but
the show is down 26% for the year, more than any other court show that scores
at least a 1.0 household rating. Twentieth's Divorce Court, and
Entertainment Studios' America's Court, Justice for All and We
the People
all were flat at a 1.3, 0.8, 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

Magazines all were steady or higher. CTD's leader, Entertainment
, climbed 5% from the prior week to a 4.0. CTD's Inside Edition
and Warner Bros.' TMZ remained at a 3.2 and 2.0, respectively. NBCU's Access
improved 6% to a 1.9, equaling its season high. Warner Bros.' Extra
spiked 7%, the category's biggest improvement, hitting a 1.6, its
second-highest rating of the season. CTD's new omg! Insider was stable
at a 1.4, while Twentieth's rookie, Dish Nation, remained at a 1.0.

Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire scored
game's biggest gain, adding 13% for the week to a new season-high 2.7. CTD's
leader, Wheel of Fortune, picked up 5% from the prior session to a 7.7,
scoring second place on syndication's overall leaderboard. CTD's Jeopardy! rose
5% to a 6.9. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud finished 4% higher at a 5.4,
while NBCU's rookie, Baggage, lost 8% to a 1.1.

Finally, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory
inched up 1% from the previous frame to a 7.8, topping syndication's household
chart. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men moved ahead 6% to a 5.4.
Twentieth's Family Guy gained 3% to a 3.7. Twentieth's How I Met Your
was flat at a 2.8. SPT's Seinfeld gained 4% to a 2.4.
Twentieth's King of the Hill declined 4% to a 2.2, tying Warner Bros.' Friends,
which improved 5% to a 2.2. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond remained at a

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.