Syndication Ratings: 'Wheel of Fortune' Returns to Game Lead

CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune reclaimed the game lead for the first time since April 11, 2016, accelerating 7% to a 5.9 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, in the session ending Sept. 30.

Typical game leader Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 5% from the prior week to a 44-week-low 5.8 and slipped into a tie for second place in the games with CTD’s Jeopardy!, which jumped 4%.

Syndicated shows were negatively affected across the board by coverage of Senate hearings over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was ultimately confirmed. The hearings caused massive preemptions during the week, especially on Thursday, Sept. 27, with Nielsen breaking out many shows, most of which air in daytime. Syndies also faced stronger-than-usual competition from cable news.

Staying with the games, Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was unchanged at a 1.6, while Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask stayed at a 0.5 for the tenth straight week.

Disney-ABC’s viral video show RightThisMinute remained steady for the week at a 1.2, falling 14% from last year.

Elsewhere in access, CTD’s Entertainment Tonight was only magazine to improve, climbing 4% and leading the category with a 2.9. CTD’s Inside Edition softened 3% to a 2.8. NBCU’s Access and Warner Bros.’ TMZ and Extra all held steady at a 1.2, 1.2 and 1.1, respectively.

CTD’s DailyMailTV, which was preempted numerous times during the ween, backtracked 10% to a 0.9. Twentieth’s Page Six TV and Trifecta’s Celebrity Page each held steady at a 0.7 and a 0.3, respectively, and were the only two magazines to not lose ground compared to last year, with both staying put.

CTD’s Dr. Phil led the talkers for the 108th straight week with two ties, despite dipping 3% to a 2.9. Phil also led among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 with a 1.2.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan returned to sole possession of second place with a steady 2.1, while Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres dropped 5% to a 2.0. NBCU’s Maury held at a 1.4. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams grew 8% to a 1.3. NBCU’s Steve gave back 8% to a 1.2 after hitting a 17-week high in the prior session.

NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, CTD’s Rachael Ray, Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, Warner Bros.’ TheReal, CTD’s The Doctors, NBCU’s Jerry Springer and Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben all were flat at a 1.1, 1.0, 1.0, 0.7, 0.5, 0.4 and 0.4, respectively.

Turning to this year’s first-run rookies, CTD’s Face the Truth was steady at a 0.8 in households and improved 25% to a 0.5 among women 25-54. Debmar-Mercury’s new court show, Caughtin Providence, opened at a 0.5 in households with a 0.2 in the key demo.

CTD’s Judge Judy led the veteran courts, dipping 4% to a 6.8 after clocking a 17-week high in the prior session. Judy also led all of syndication for the ninth straight week.

CTD’s Hot Bench stayed at a 2.2 and was the third-highest-ranked show in daytime for the second straight week behind only Judy and Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court fell back 7% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis maintained a 1.0 for the 13th straight week. Twentieth’s Divorce Court sank 13% to a 0.7.

NBCU’s off-net true-crime strip Dateline decreased 7% to a 1.3. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD PolicePatrol and off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files each were unchanged at a 1.0 and 0.3, respectively.

NBCU’s scripted off-net strip Chicago PD collared a 0.8 in its syndicated debut.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory was unchanged at a 4.3 to lead the off-net sitcoms. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing and Modern Family both fell 5% to a 2.0. SPT’s The Goldbergs gave back 7% to a 1.3, tying Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, which also dropped 7%. Twentieth’s Family Guy, Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, Disney-ABC’s Black-ish and Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls all held at a 1.2, 1.1, 1.0 and 1.0, respectively. SPT’s Seinfeld spiked 11% to a 1.0, matching Black-ish and 2 Broke Girls

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.