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Syndication Ratings: Three-Way Tie Atop Talkers

Dr. Phil, Live with Regis and Kelly and Maury continued to battle for the title of top talker in the week ending July 17.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil, which has been first or tied for first for five of the past seven weeks, had the strongest gains of any talker, despite being in repeats. At a 2.3 live plus same day average household rating, Phil grew 10% for the week and 21% for the year, marking the largest weekly and yearly increases in the genre. Phil tied Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, which was flat for both the week and the year, and NBCUniversal's Maury, which was unchanged for the week and up 10% from last year.

In second place were repeats of CTD's Oprah, which tacked on 5% to a 2.2. Sony's Dr. Oz was flat at a 1.9. CTD's Rachael Ray rallied 8% to a 1.4, tying Warner Bros.' Ellen, CTD's The Doctors and NBCU's Jerry Springer. Ellen dropped 7%, while The Doctors and Springer were both flat. NBCU's Steve Wilkos was unchanged at a 1.3, while Debmar-Marcus' Wendy Williams trailed at a flat 0.8.

CTD's Judge Judy remained syndication's top show, gaining 2% from last week and 49% from last year to a 6.4. CTD's Judge Joe Brown took second among the court shows and was flat at a 2.6. Warner Bros.' People's Court picked up 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.6. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex each sank 19% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro, heading into the end of its run, remained steady at a 0.8 for the 12th week in a row.

Elsewhere in daytime, Twentieth's Dish Nation, which features drive-time radio deejays chatting about the entertainment news of the day, began a six-week test on select Fox-owned stations on Monday. The debuted with a 1.0 rating/2 share average weighted metered market average, down 23% from both its 1.3/3 average lead-in and year-ago time period average.

Similarly, Debmar-Mercury's Father Albert, which also is airing in a five-week summer test on select Fox-owned stations, averaged a 0.7/2 in its metered markets for its first two weeks. That's unchanged from its year-ago time period average and down 30% from its lead-in.

CTD's Swift Justice continued to lead syndication's soon-to-be sophomores despite losing 12% to a 1.5. Twentieth's already- canceled Don't Forget the Lyrics held steady at a 0.9. Sony's Nate Berkus fell 11% to a 0.8. Litton's Judge Karen's Court slid 13% to a 0.7. Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross remained at a 0.4 for the fourth consecutive week.

CTD's Entertainment Tonight showed the largest gain among the magazines, jumping 9% to a 3.5, the show's best rating in six weeks. Coverage of former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral on July 12, which was attended by many dignitaries, drove ET's ratings up 19% to a 3.8 on that day. CTD's Inside Edition and Warner Bros.' TMZ were flat at a 2.8 and a 1.8, respectively. NBCU's Access Hollywood improved 6% in households to a 1.7 and 20% among women 25-54 to a 1.2. Warner Bros.' Extra rose 7% in households to a 1.5 and 20% among young women 18-34. CTD's The Insider declined 7% to a 1.4 and last place in the genre.

Game show leader CTD's Wheel of Fortune finished 7% ahead of the prior session at a 6.3, while CTD's Jeopardy! picked up 10% to a 5.3. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was flat at a 2.7, while Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire fell 4% to a 2.2. Twentieth's soon-to-depart Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader was flat at a 1.1.

Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men topped the off-net sitcoms with a 2% gain to a 5.8. Twentieth's Family Guy grew 2% to a 4.4. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids added 3% to a 3.3. Warner Bros.' George Lopez advanced 8% to a 2.8. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond and Sony's Seinfeld each were up 8% to a 2.7. Twentieth's King of the Hill declined 4% to a 2.3, tying NBCU's The Office which was unchanged. Warner Bros.' Friends climbed 6% to a 1.9.

Among the new off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother held firm at a 2.8. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine jumped 7% to a 1.5. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns improved 8% to a 1.4.