Syndication Ratings: Viewing Levels Down During First Week of Sweeps

Mother Nature combined with normal warm weather seasonal changes to send syndication viewing levels plunging during the week ending May 6, which included the first full week of sweeps.

The 1.6 million viewer drop off brought the three-week total decline to more than 5 million viewers. Weather played a big part in the downturn, with killer tornados striking the plain states toward the end of the week, leading to extended storm coverage preemptions.

Only two of 12 talk shows gained from the previous week: CBS’ Oprah grew 7% to 6.3 and Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks rose 8% to 1.3. Tyra also posted a sharp rise among younger women, with a 22% surge to 1.1 in the demo.

Beyond Oprah, CBS’ second-place Dr. Phil dipped 4% to 5.0; Buena Vista TV’s Live with Regis & Kelly fell 11% to 3.1 and Warner Bros.’ Ellen remained unchanged at 2.3. NBC Universal’s Maury was also even at 2.2.

Versus last year, Ellen was the lone talker to rise, with a 5% increase. Nine sunk by double digits, while two escaped with single-digit losses: Dr. Phil (2%) and Live (6%).

Elsewhere in daytime, none of the veteran court shows gained for the week or year but the two rookies did. Twentieth TV’s Cristina’s Court picked up 8% to 1.4 and Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez grew 11% to 1.0.

In access, all of the game shows were stalled in weekly and yearly comparisons. But the top-four Anna Nicole-obsessed magazines held steady with the prior week, and either maintained or outperformed their year-ago deliveries.

CBS’ Entertainment Tonight (5.1) rose 4% from last year, CBS’ Inside Edition (3.5) grew 3%, NBCU’s Access Hollywood (2.6) lifted 13% and CBS’ The Insider was flat.

Warner Bros.’ Extra (2.0), meanwhile, lost 9% for week and 5% for the year.