Syndication Ratings: 'Wendy Williams' Jumps With Host's Return

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was talk’s biggest mover in the week ended March 10. Williams returned to her eponymous show on Monday, March 4, after taking more than two months off due to illness and injury. 

Her return resulted in a 36% pop from the prior week, which had been at season-low levels in reruns, to a new season-high 1.5 live plus same day rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, and fourth place among the talkers.

Williams confessed to viewers on Tuesday that she has been residing in a sober house.

“You know I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in the past,” she said during the program. “I never went to a place to get treatment … there are people in your family, it might be you … I want you to know more of the story.”

She also said that it’s lights-out at 10 p.m. so “I go to my room and stare at the ceiling and fall asleep to come here and see you. So that is my truth.”

Williams took a leave from her show in January after breaking her shoulder and suffering issues with her Graves disease, which is a condition that affects the thyroid. She returned on Monday, March 4, after the show aired repeats and several episodes hosted by guest panels and hosts, such as Nick Cannon and Jerry O'Connell.

Leading the chat pack for the 131st consecutive week with five ties was CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil, which grew 3% to a 3.1, even though it was in repeats for part of the week. Phil also led among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 with a 1.4.

Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan remained in second place for the second straight week with a steady 2.4. Warner Bros.’ Ellen dropped 18% to a 1.8 with encore episodes.

NBCU’s Maury and Steve, which aired five days of repeats, were next in line with both holding steady at a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos picked up 9% to a 1.2. CTD’s Rachael Ray remained at a 1.1, tying Sony Pictures Television’s steady Dr. Oz.

Warner Bros.’ The Real registered a 0.7 for the ninth straight week. CTD’s The Doctors was stable at a 0.6 for the fifth straight week. Disney’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E. W. Scripps, stood pat at a 0.4 for a seventh consecutive week, tying the syndicated run of NBCU’s out-of-production Jerry Springer, which stayed at a 0.4 for the 26th straight week.

CTD’s freshman Face the Truth rose 14% to a 0.8, while Debmar-Mercury’s rookie court Caught in Providence, which is renewed for season two, posted a 17% increase to a 0.7.

The week ended March 10 also was marked by longtime Jeopardy! host’s Alex Trebek’s March 6 announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Shortly after that, Trebek reportedly returned to the show’s production.

CTD’s Jeopardy! advanced 1% from the prior frame to a five-week high 6.9, which kept the show in sole possession of first place among games for a second straight week.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune was unchanged in second at a 6.6. Debmar-Mercury’s usual leader Family Feud inched up 2% to hold in third place at a 6.5.

Disney’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire sprang back 20% with Celebrity Judge Week to tie its season-high 1.8. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask also recovered 20% to tie its season-high 0.6.

Disney’s viral video show RightThisMinute clocked an 8% increase to a 1.3.

Meanwhile, CTD’s February sweep champion Judge Judy was the only show to beat Jeopardy!, jumping 4% to a 7.5 to lead all of syndication in households for the 35th straight week with four ties.

Judy also was the only court to improve over last year, moving up 3%.

CTD’s Hot Bench ballooned 9% to a 2.5 to rank third in daytime behind only Judy and Dr. Phil for the eighth time in the past nine weeks. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court slipped 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was unchanged at a 1.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court held at a 0.7.

Most magazines were at or near season highs with most holding steady or moving higher from year-ago levels due to viewer interest in the March 4 sudden death of Luke Perry at 52. Perry shot to fame when he starred as Dylan McKay on Fox’s breakout hit 90210 and was currently starring as Archie’s dad on The CW’s Riverdale.

CTD's Inside Edition added 3% for the week and 6% from last year to a 3.3. Sister show EntertainmentTonight was right behind, easing 3% to a 3.2, while holding steady compared to last year. NBCU’s Access took over sole possession of third place, holding firm at its season-best 1.4 and climbing 8% annually. Warner Bros.’ TMZ declined 7% from both the week and year to a 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Extra maintained its season high 1.2 and held steady with last year, tying CTD’s DailyMailTV which jumped 9% for the week and the year to a new season high.

Twentieth’s Page Six TV slipped 14% for both the week and the year to a 0.6. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page garnered a 0.3 for the fifth consecutive week, and added 50% from last year at this time.

Turning to true crime, NBCU’s off-net Dateline finished first for the 26th consecutive week despite dipping 7% to a 1.3. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol stayed at a 1.0 for a second straight week. Off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files reported a constant 0.3.

NBCU’s scripted rookie strip Chicago PD improved 10% to a 1.1, matching its series high.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory dipped 2% to a 4.7. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing and Modern Family, SPT’s TheGoldbergs and Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men all remained at a 2.3, 2.0. 1.5 and 1.5, respectively. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly moved up 9% to a 1.2. Disney’s Black-ish, this year’s lone off-net sitcom rookie, and Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls were on par with the prior week’s 1.1 and 1.0, respectively. SPT’s Seinfeld shrank 9% to a 1.0, matching 2 Broke Girls.

Paige Albiniak

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.