Syndie Talkers Turn Up the Heat

Syndication’s top talkers heated up in the 55 metered markets in February.

Heading into the final days of the February sweeps, all of the top-five talkers showed significant ratings increases over lead-in programming in the overnight markets.

Meanwhile, national ratings for the week ended Feb. 22, which included the second full week of the sweep and President’s Day, were slightly higher for most of syndication.

With 17 of 20 days already counted in the metered-market tabulation, King World’s Dr.Phil is on track for his best sweep ever, averaging a series high 6.2 rating/15 share, up 82% over its lead-in and 9% over its Feb. 2003 time-period average.

Warner Bros.’ TheEllen DeGeneres Show, this season’s rookie champion, is tied with Universal’s Maury as the No. 4 talk show overall, averaging a 3.0/8, up 20% from its lead-in and 36% over its year-ago time periods.

King World’s The Oprah Winfrey Show, the top talker, came in with a 7.7/18 average, up a second-best 54% from its lead-in and 9% from last year’s time periods. Buena Vista’s Live With Regis and Kelly in third place is averaging a solid 4.8/15 in what are almost exclusively morning time periods, up 7% from lead-in and off just 2% from last year. Maury averaged a 3.0/8, up 15% from its lead-in and up 3% from its year-ago time period average.

Oprah, at 7.6 in households, led the national tallies followed by Dr.Phil’s 5.6 and Live With Regis and Kelly’s 4.0. Maury was next, up 13% to a new season-high 3.5. Paramount’s Montel Williams also was at a new season-high, climbing 16% to 2.9. Universal’s Jerry Springer was up 9% to 2.5, with Ellen unchanged at 2.1.

Elsewhere in daytime, Warner Bros.’ Judge Greg Mathis had the biggest increase among courts, jumping 9% to 2.5. Mathis was one of only two court shows up over last year, gaining 14%. Sony’s Judge Hatchett was the other, up 11% year-to-year, after a week-to-week gain of 5% to 2.1.

Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, the No. 1 magazine, was up 2% to 6.1. King World’s Inside Edition was second, although down 3% to 3.8. NBC Enterprises’ Access Hollywood was up 10% to 3.3, followed by Warner Bros.’ Extra! down 3% to 2.8, and Warner Bros.’ Celebrity Justice, unchanged at 1.3.

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.