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Syndication Ratings: Viewers Resolve to Watch More Court Shows in New Year

Headed into the New Year, viewers seemed to be seeking some straight talk, with every syndicated court show steady or up for the week ending Jan. 1, 2012, and Judge Judy turning in its highest-rated week of 2011.

CBS Television Distribution's Judge Judy, which has led the court category for 15 years, hit a season-high 7.6 live plus same day national household rating, up 6% for the week. That was also syndication's highest rating for the week.

In second place, CTD's Judge Joe Brown gained 10% to a new season-high 3.2. Warner Bros.' People's Court also advanced 10% to a season-best 2.3, while Judge Mathis jumped 12% to a new season-high 1.9. Twentieth's pair of court shows, Judge Alex and Divorce Court, each picked up 6% to a 1.8 and 1.7, respectively. CTD's Swift Justice and Entertainment Studios' America's Court each held steady at a 1.4 and 1.0, respectively.

Disney-ABC's Live! With Kelly slipped 3% to a 2.9 in the second week of its "Aloha Hawaii Watch-to-Win Giveaway," tying Sony's Dr. Oz, which climbed 12% to a 2.9, to tie for first in the hotly contested race for top talker. CTD's Dr. Phil, the top talker season to date, rose 4% for the week to a 2.7 and second place in the genre, despite being in repeats all week.

NBCU's Maury added 4% to hit a new season-high 2.5. Warner Bros.' Ellen remained at her season-low 2.1 for a second straight week. CTD's Rachael Ray, just renewed through 2014, rose 6% to a season-high 1.8. Rachael is up 13% from last year at this time, which was the largest year-to-year increase of any veteran talker.

NBCU's Jerry Springer was flat at a 1.6. CTD's The Doctors climbed 7% to a 1.5, and that trend should continue: in the week ending Jan. 8, the show's first without former co-host Jillian Michaels, The Doctors' metered-market ratings grew 13% for the week and its share increased 25% to a 1.7 rating/5 share average.

NBCU's Steve Wilkos was unchanged at a 1.4. Sony's Nate Berkus declined 8% to a 1.1. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams sank to a new season-low 0.9, after falling 10% for the week.

Among the rookies, Warner Bros.' Anderson held steady at a 1.3, Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle jumped 17% to a new season-high 0.7, and Entertainment Studios' We the People was flat at a 0.5.

CTD's Excused, a late-night dating show, slipped 13% from its season high the prior week to a 0.7, after going into a week of all repeats.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' freshman The Big Bang Theory solidified its standing as the new sitcom leader, inching up 2% to a 6.6. Warner Bros' veteran Two and a Half Men dropped 6% to a second-place 5.9. Twentieth's Family Guy retreated 5% to a 3.7. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother dropped 3% to a 3.4. Sony's Seinfeld was unchanged at a 2.7. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond added 4% to a new season-high 2.6. Warner Bros.' Friends was flat at a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill dropped 9% to a 2.0.

Among the rest of the rookie sitcoms, following Big Bang, NBCU's 30 Rock, which returns to NBC's primetime line-up this Thursday (Jan. 12)dipped 7% to a 1.3 in mostly late-fringe time slots, tying Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which was flat. Sony's ‘Til Death also was flat at a 0.7.

In access, CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 4% from the prior week to a 6.8. CTD's Jeopardy! declined 3% to a 5.7. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud spiked 7% to a 3.2. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire climbed 4% to a 2.6.

Magazines were flat or down for the week. CTD's top magazine, Entertainment Tonight, held firm at a 3.5. CTD's Inside Edition ticked up 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.' TMZ was flat at a 1.9. NBCU's Access Hollywood eased 5% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Extra held steady at a 1.5, while CTD's The Insider yielded 7% to a 1.4.