Six of the top eight talk shows saw ratings spikes and several others clocked double-digit, year-over-year improvement in the session ending Feb. 22, which marked the third full week of the February sweep.
Top talker CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil led the genre for the sixth week in a row with a steady 3.5 live plus same day national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Phil was up 13% from last year at this time.
Disney-ABC's red-hot Live With Kelly and Michael was a powerful second, growing 6% to a new season-high 3.4 and climbing 17% from last year.
Further back, Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres reversed two straight weeks of declines, rebounding 11% to a third place 3.1.
Among women 25-54, Dr. Phil, Live With Kelly and Michael and Ellen all finished tied at a first-place 1.8 demo rating.
Rounding out the top five in households, NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey matched his season high, advancing 5% to a 2.1 and tying NBCU’s Maury, which remained at his season high 2.1 for a third straight week.
Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was up 5% to a new all-time high 2.0 and gained 25% from last year, the most of any talker.
CTD’s Rachael Ray and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz each surged 14% to a 1.6, equaling their strongest ratings of the season in both cases.
NBCU’s Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer held steady at 1.5 and 1.4, respectively. CTD’s The Doctors scored the most weekly growth of any talk show with an 18% spike to a 1.3, its highest rating in more than a year, and also increased 18% over the same week in 2014. SPT’s soon-to-depart Queen Latifah continued to be competitive adding 10% to a 1.1 while Meredith’s The Better Show, which will go dark at the end of the season, was down 50% from a 0.2 to a 0.1.
Among the freshman field, all of which have been greenlit for year two, CTD’s Hot Bench was tops in households for the 23rd consecutive week with a steady 1.8. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game was second with a 7% rally to a new season-high 1.5. NBCU’s Meredith Vieira rose 9% to a 1.2, tying Warner Bros.’ The Real, which was flat at a 1.2.
Among women 25-54, however, The Real was first with an unchanged 1.0 demo rating followed by Celebrity Name Game, which was up 13% to a new high 0.9 and Hot Bench at a steady 0.8. Meredith ballooned 40% in the key demo to a 0.7, matching its season high. Trifecta’s Judge Faith, meanwhile, fell 11% to a 0.8 household rating and lost 20% to a 0.4 in the demo.
Elsewhere in daytime, CTD’s Judge Judy, which was just renewed through 2020, crushed the court shows with a steady 7.3, topping her closest rival gaveler by more than five rating points. Warner Bros.' second-place People’s Court was far back at a 1.9, which was up 6%. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was off 6% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, which was unchanged at a 1.5, while MGM’s sophomore Paternity Court strengthened 8% to a 1.4.
In access, CTD’s Entertainment Tonight dominated the magazines for the 969th straight week with a 3% gain to a 3.9, matching its season high. ET was also up 15% from last year at this time, the most of any top-tier show in the category.
CTD’s Inside Edition was flat at a 3.4. Warner Bros.’ TMZ recovered 5% to a 2.2. NBCU’s Access Hollywood was steady at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Extra dipped 6% to a 1.6 after being preempted for weather related specials in several key markets while CTD’s The Insider slipped 7% to a 1.3.
Further down the magazine rack, Twentieth’s Dish Nation was flat at a 1.1 while Trifecta’s OK! TV regained what it had dropped in the prior session, rising 50% from a 0.2 back to a 0.3.
In game show action, CTD’s Wheel of Fortune inched up 3% to a 7.6. CTD’s Jeopardy! edged ahead 4% to a 7.4. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud spurted 11% to a 7.2, matching its series high set three weeks ago. While Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, devalued 5% to a 1.8.
Elsewhere, MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute jumped 13% to a 1.7.
Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory was easily best, heating up 5% to a 6.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family faded 8% to a 3.6. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, Twentieth’s Family Guy and Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike & Molly remained at 3.3, 2,6 and 2.5, respectively. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother moved up 4% to a 2.4. SPT’s Seinfeld recovered 5% to a 2.2 while Warner Bros.’ The Middle, Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and King of the Hill were all unchanged at 2.0, 1.9, and 1.7, respectively.
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