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Syndication Ratings: Two Media Storms Mess With Syndies

TV was full of earth-shaking events in the week ending Aug. 28, including a rare earthquake that rattled the eastern seaboard; Hurricane Irene, which caused flooding from Vermont to New Jersey; and, amidst all of that, the wedding of reality star Kim Kardashian.

News coverage of the hurricane and earthquake caused many syndicated shows to be preempted, stifling ratings, while Kardashian's nuptials spiked numbers for the entertainment magazines.

CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight improved 6% from the prior week to a 3.5 in households, and gained 6% among women 25-54 to a 2.0. CTD's Inside Edition, in second place, gained 7% to a 2.9. Warner Bros' TMZ was the only one of the six mags to decline, dropping 5% to a 1.8, but holding on to third place. NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood held steady at a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra jumped 7% to a 1.6, the show's highest rating since the May sweep, and climbed 17% among women 18-49. CTD's The Insider remained even at a 1.5.

In daytime, CTD's Dr. Phil tied NBCU's Maury to lead the talkers, snatching bragging rights from Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly, which decreased 9% to a 2.1 while the show was in repeats. Phil held firm at a 2.2, despite preemptions, up 16% from last year and marking the biggest year-to-year improvement of any talk show. Maury faded 4%.

Sony's Dr. Oz declined 5% to a 1.9. CTD's Oprah remained at its all-time low 1.9 for the fifth week in a row. CTD's The Doctors eased 7% to a 1.4, and landed in a three way tie with Warner Bros.' Ellen and NBCU's Jerry Springer, which were both unchanged. CTD's Rachael Ray slipped 8% to a 1.2, tying NBCU's Steve Wilkos, which was flat. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams eroded 13% to a 0.7, matching its series low.

Dipping 5% from the prior session, CTD's Judge Judy led the court shows, and tied CTD's Wheel of Fortune for syndication's top spot with a 6.1 Among the other courts, CTD's Judge Joe Brown fell 7% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' People's Court declined 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Judge Alex lost 6% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and Twentieth's Divorce Court, both of which were flat. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeannine Pirro, wrapping its run, deteriorated 13% to a new season-low 0.7

CTD's Swift Justice, with its rookie season nearly completed, slipped 7% to a 1.4. Sony's Nate Berkus and Twentieth's canceled Don't Forget the Lyrics each were unchanged at a 0.9 and 0.7, respectively. Litton's Judge Karen's Court, also ending its run, weakened 14% to a 0.6, while Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross was flat at a 0.5.

Twentieth's Dish Nation, which completed its six-week tryout in select Fox markets, averaged a 0.9 rating/2 share in the metered markets for its full run, down 36% from its 1.4 rating/3 lead-in and down 44% from its 1.6 rating/3 share year-ago time period average. However, the show grew 11% from its debut.

Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune inched up 2% to regain the syndication lead at a 6.1. CTD's Jeopardy! rebounded 6% from its season low to a 5.1. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud added 4% to a 2.4. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire declined 4% to a 2.2. Twentieth's canceled Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader softened 10% to a 0.9.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids had a big week, spiking 21% to a new season high 4.0. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men remained on top but fell 2% to a 5.9. Twentieth's Family Guy fell 4% to a 4.3. Sony's Seinfeld remained at a 2.7. NBCU's The Office grew 4% to a 2.6. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond receded 4% to a 2.5. Warner Bros.' George Lopez lost 15% to a 2.3, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which was flat. Carsey-Werner's That 70s Show was unchanged at a 2.2, while Warner Bros.' Friends retreated 5% to a 2.0.

Finally, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother was down 3% to a 2.8, but still led the new off-cable and off-net strips. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine advanced 8% to a 1.4, while Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns skidded 8% to a 1.2.