Syndication Ratings: 'Wendy Williams’ Summer Strategy Paying Strong Dividends

Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams demonstrated the strength of its summer strategy, marking two important firsts. Wendy tied Disney-ABC's Live for first place among daytime's key demographic of women 25-54 for the first time, while also tying Warner Bros.' Ellen and NBCUniversal's Mauryfor third place among households.

In general, talkers managed to escape summer's doldrums, with 10 of 13 in the genre steady or up for the week ended July 5, which included the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael took sole possession of talk’s top spot, gaining 4% for the week and the year to a 2.7 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Live tied Wendy for first place at a 1.3 in the demo.

In second place, CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil, in reruns, slipped 8% for the week to a 2.4, up 4% from the same week last year.

For the second straight week, Maury remained tied with Ellen Degeneres for third place, with Wendy adding itself to that slot. Maury and Ellen both dipped 5% to a 1.8, while both grew 6% from last year at this time. Ellen marked a new season low for the third week in a row. Wendy jumped 13% for the week, that show’s best rating since the February sweep with originals on three of the five days. Year to year, Wendy clocked a 29% improvement, the largest annual gain of any talker.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey was in repeats for most of the week, but nevertheless climbed 6% to a 1.7, a tenth of a point behind Wendy, Ellen and Maury, and surged 21% from the same week in 2014, marking the category’s third greatest annual gain.

NBCU’s Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos both were steady at a 1.4. Compared to last year, Wilkos jumped 17% while Springer spiked 27%, talk’s second biggest annual increase. CTD’s Rachael Ray rebounded 8% to a 1.3 in households and 20% among women 25-54 to a 0.6. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz strengthened 8% to a 1.3, tying Rachael. CTD’s The Doctors and Warner Bros.’ The Real each improved 11% to a 1.0, while NBCUniversal’s Meredith Vieira was unchanged at a 0.9.

The first week of Fox’s four-week test of The Boris and Nicole Show averaged a 0.8 rating/3 share across its 13 metered markets. That was down 27% from its average lead-in and flat compared to its year-ago time period average. Among women 25-54, Boris and Nicole averaged a 0.8/5, dropping 27% from its 1.1/7 lead-in, but improving 60% from its 0.5 rating/3 compared to its July 2014 time period average. That demo performance also shows that the test talker's audience is appealing to younger audiences.

Boris and Nicole’s best markets were Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., while it averaged a 0.4 or below in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Baltimore, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Louisville and Buffalo.

CTD’s Judge Judy, in reruns for most of the week, gave back 4% to lead court at a 6.4 after a sharp increase in the prior frame. Judy remained the highest rated overall syndicated show in households for the eighth time in the past ten weeks.

CTD’s Hot Bench was the second place gaveler. holding steady at a 1.9 in a week of all repeats. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court sagged 6% to a 1.6. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was flat at a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis recovered 8% to a 1.3. MGM’s Paternity Court and Trifecta’s newcomer Judge Faith were unchanged at a 1.1 and 0.7, respectively.

In access, CTD’s Entertainment Tonight was back on top, dipping 3% to a 3.0 but improving 7% from last year at this time. CTD’s Inside Edition, Warner Bros.’ TMZ, NBCU’s Access Hollywood, Warner Bros.’ Extra and CTD’s The Insider all were steady at a 2.9, 1.7, 1.5, 1.3 and 1.2, respectively. All of the top-six magazines outperformed their year ago scores except TMZ, which was flat. Inside Edition was up 12% year to year, Access Hollywood shot up 25% from last year, Extra strengthened 8% and The Insider added 9%.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation was flat at a 1.0 for the seventh week in a row and unchanged from last year, while Trifecta’s OK! TV remained at a 0.2, down 50% or one-tenth of a ratings point from the same week last year.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud seems to be settling the argument of who leads the game show race, topping the category for the fourth week in a row, including one tie, with a steady 6.2. CTD’s Jeopardy! weakened 2% to a 6.0. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune skidded 3% to a new season- low 5.8 and remained in an unaccustomed third place for a second straight week. Year to year, Feudwas up 44%, while Jeopardy! added 11% and Wheel moved up 4%. Feud also led all of syndication among women 25-54 at a 3.1, ahead of Judge Judy at a 3.0.

Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire remained at its all-time low 1.6 for the tenth time in 11 week, dropping 20% from last year at this time. Debmar-Mercury’s freshman Celebrity Name Game was unchanged at a 1.3. Meanwhile, MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute lost 13% to a 1.3, matching its season low.

In off-net syndication, several shows found the waters choppy. Warner Bros.’ leader The Big Bang Theory misfired, dropping below the 5.0 rating level for the second time in three weeks, after a 9% loss to a new season low 4.8. Twentieth’s Modern Family shrank 3% hitting its second consecutive new series-low 3.0. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men sank 7% to a 2.6, the lowest rating in its eight-year off-net history.

Twentieth’s Family Guy was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike and Molly moved down 5% to a 2.1. SPT’s Seinfeld stayed at a 1.9 for the fourth consecutive week. Warner Bros.’ The Middle was unchanged at a 1.8. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother deteriorated 19% to a new season-low 1.7. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show and King of the Hill were the only gainers among the top ten with both climbing 7% to a 1.6 and 1.5, respectively.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.