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Syndication Ratings: Viewers' Basketball Madness Tamps Down Syndies

March Madness, spring break and many shows in repeats meant that most syndicated shows were flat at best in the week ending March 29.

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil, in mostly reruns, dipped 3% to a 2.9 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, but remained the top talker for the 11th consecutive week and 26th time in the past 30 weeks.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael wasn’t live on three of the five days and slipped 3% to a 2.8.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, in repeats, declined 15%, the most of any talker, to a new season-low 2.2. NBCUniversal’s Maury held steady at a 1.9 for fourth place, and led the talkers among women 25-54, climbing 7% to a 1.5.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey rounded out the top five, easing 5% to a 1.8.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams slipped 6% to a sixth-place 1.6, although the show finished fourth among women 25-54, behind leader Maury in first and Dr. Phil and Live, which tied for second at a 1.4. Wendy dropped 8% in the demo to a 1.2. Ellen came in fifth, losing 21% to a 1.1. Compared to last year, Wendy improved 14% in households, talk’s biggest annual gain.

Meanwhile, SPT’s Dr. Oz had talk’s largest annual decline, tumbling 33% to a seventh-place 1.4, unchanged for the week.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos and CTD’s Rachael Ray each receded 7% to a 1.3, tying NBCU’s Jerry Springer, which was flat. CTD’s The Doctors remained at a 1.0. SPT’s Queen Latifah, which is waving goodbye, recovered 13% to a 0.9, while Meredith’s The Better Show, which will depart at the end of this season, was flat at a 0.1.

Among the first-run rookies, CTD’s Hot Bench continued to lead at a steady at a 1.6 in households. Hot Bench also topped the category among women 25-54, jumping 29% to a 0.9, tying Warner Bros.’ The Real, which was steady, and Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, which improved 13%.

In households, Celebrity Name Game weakened 7% to a second-place 1.3. NBCUniversal’s Meredith Vieira and The Real both were unchanged at a 1.1, while Trifecta’s Judge Faith gained 13% to a 0.9.

Elsewhere in daytime, CTD’s Judge Judy led court at a steady 6.1, despite being in reruns on four of the five days. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court sagged 11% to a 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court rebounded 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.3, while MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court fell 8% to a 1.2.

The game show race remained tight as CTD’s household leader Wheel of Fortune fell for the third straight week, dipping 3% to a 6.4, that show’s lowest rating since the holiday week of Dec. 29, 2014. CTD’s Jeopardy! was one-tenth behind at a flat 6.3, while Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was a tenth behind that. In the prior week, Feud beat Jeopardy! in households for the first time but this week, Feud dropped 5% to a third-place 6.2.

In fourth place, Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was unchanged at a 1.8, down 18% from last year at this time.

Elsewhere, MGM’s viral video show, RightThisMinute, was flat at a 1.4.

Magazine ratings continued to be hurt by the NCAA's annual March Madness basketball tournament.

CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight was unchanged at a 3.4. CTD’s Inside Edition recovered 4% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ tumbled 10% to a 1.9. NBCU’s Access Hollywood gave back 6% to a 1.8 after gaining in the previous session. Warner Bros.’ Extra slipped 7% to a 1.4. CTD’s The Insider had the category's only gain, rebounding 10% to a 1.1.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation dropped 17% to a 1.0, while Trifecta’s OK! TV was unchanged at a 0.2.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory remained atop the off-net sitcoms, improving 3% to a 6.3. Twentieth’s Modern Family faded 13% to a new season-low 3.4. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men dropped 7% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ freshman Mike & Molly was flat at a 2.3. Twentieth’s Family Guy fell 4% to a 2.2. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother lost 5% to a new season-low 2.1, tying SPT’s Seinfeld, which added 5% to a 2.1. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show softened 5% to a 1.8, Twentieth’s King of the Hill climbed 6% to a 1.7, while Warner Bros.’ The Middle descended 6% to a 1.6.

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.