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Syndication Ratings: Two and a Half Men Stays on Top

Warner Bros.’ rookie sitcom, Two and a Half Men, stayed atop syndication’s off-network pack for the second week in a row, jumping 5% to hit a season-high 4.3 national household live-plus-same-day rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond also climbed 5% to a 4.3 but that was only good enough for second place. Two shows tied for third: Sony veteran Seinfeld moved up 5% to a season-high 3.9, while Twentieth Television rookie Family Guy fell 3% to the same number.

Warner Bros.’ Friends took fifth place, unchanged at a 2.9, followed by Sony’s King of Queens at a 2.8, down 3%. Warner Bros.’ other freshman, George Lopez, leaped 4% to hit a season-high 2.7.

Sitcoms were the only genre to see mostly week-to-week improvement in the week ending Nov. 4, which included Halloween Wednesday, Oct. 31. Even though the week was the first of the November sweep, levels of households using television declined sharply from the prior week, dropping more than 2.3 million viewers.

In daytime, not a single court show increased for the week. CBS’ Judge Judy dropped 6% to a 4.7, although it was the only show in first-run to improve season-to-date versus last year. In second place, CBS’ Judge Joe Brown fell 3% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court dipped 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis declined 5% to a 5.1. Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which hit a season high the prior week, fell 14% to a 1.8, while Twentieth’s Judge Alex fell 5% to a 1.8. Sony’s Judge Hatchett was unchanged at a 1.3. Finally, Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court plunged 14% to a 1.2, while Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez was flat at a 0.9.

Three talk shows gained on the week: CBS’ The Oprah Winfrey Show, the top talker, gained 2% to a 5.8; CBS’ Dr. Phil jumped 7% to a 4.8, earning the show’s highest rating in 23 weeks; and CBS’ Montel Williams, in seventh place, was up 7% to a season-high 1.6.

Among the other top-tier talk shows, Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly, Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show and CBS’ Rachael Ray all held steady with the prior week at 3.1, 2.1 and 2.0, respectively. On Monday, Rachael Ray scored its highest ratings of the season in the metered markets, winning a 2.5 rating/7 share with her “So You Think You Can Cook” competition, in which Ray is winnowing out wanna-be chefs each day.

None of the rookie shows was up for the week. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, the only new access magazine, dropped 6% to a 1.7. In daytime, NBC Universal’s Steve Wilkos fell 10% to a 0.9. Sony’s Judge David Young was flat at a 0.9, tying Wilkos. Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet slipped 11% to a 0.8. Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’sCrosswords, Twentieth’s Temptation and Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty were all unchanged at a 0.8, 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.

NBCU’s rookie off-net strip, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, fell 7% to a 1.4.

Meanwhile, NBCU’s other off-net rookie, the weekly Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, rebounded from the prior week’s season-low 2.0 to climb 25% to a season-high 2.5. Warner Bros.’ Cold Case, also a rookie in its first year in syndication, was unchanged at a 2.5.

In access, only CBS’ Entertainment Tonight gained on the week. ET scored a 4.9, up 2% for the week to hit its highest number in 21 weeks. CBS’ Inside Edition dropped 3% to a 3.4. CBS’ The Insider was off 4% to a 2.5. NBCU’s Access Hollywood fell 4% to a 2.4. And Warner Bros.’ Extra fell 6% to a 1.7 to tie with newcomer and corporate sibling TMZ.

The top two game shows hit season highs and were up for the week: CBS’ Wheel of Fortune gained a slight 1% to a season-high 7.9, and CBS’ Jeopardy! jumped 3% to a season-high 6.6. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was flat at a 2.9 and Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud slipped 6% to a 1.7.

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.