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Syndies Flat as Holiday Season Revs Up

Hectic holidays and repeats took their toll on syndies in the week ending Dec. 12, with levels of people using television down and most shows little changed from the prior week.

With CBS Television Distribution's daytime leader, Oprah, in repeats, the show was neck and neck with CTD's court queen, Judge Judy. Both shows tied at a 4.5 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Oprah held steady while Judy dipped 2%.

Following Oprah, CTD's Dr. Phil and Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly tied for second place at a 2.7. Phil was steady in households but up 7% among women 25-54, while Live, which remained live while the rest of syndication headed into repeats, added 4% to hit a new season high. Warner Bros.' Ellen remained flat at a 2.4, while Sony's Dr. Oz dipped 4% to a 2.3. NBC Universal's Maury was even with the prior frame at a 2.0. CTD's The Doctors was flat at a 1.8, but improved by double-digit percentages in every key female demo: 20% in women 18-34, 14% in women 18-49 and 11% in women 25-54.

CTD's Rachael Ray eased 6% from her season high to a 1.5. NBCU's Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos were flat at a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams recovered 22% from its season low to a 1.1.

Meanwhile the three-week test run of Debmar-Mercury and Fox's Fran Drescher ended last week, averaging a 0.6 rating/2 share in the metered markets, down 25% from both year ago time periods and lead-in. In New York, the show averaged a 0.5 rating/2 share, down 29% from last year's year ago time period average. Fran Drescher is not expected to be picked up to go to series.

Returning to the court genre, CTD's Judge Joe Brown followed Judy at an unchanged 2.0. Warner Bros.' People's Court slipped 5% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis, Twentieth's Divorce Court, Twentieth's Judge Alex and Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro all were flat at a 1.6, 1.3, 1.2 and 1.0, respectively.

None of the magazines were up from the prior week. Magazine leader CTD's Entertainment Tonight dipped 3% to a 3.9, although the show's weekend version, ET Weekend, jumped 18% to a 2.0. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition fell 3% to a 2.9. NBC U's Access Hollywood, Warner Bros.' TMZ and CTD's The Insider all were unchanged at a 2.0, 1.9 and 1.8, respectively. In last place, Warner Bros.' Extra was flat at a 1.7, while its Extra Weekend was up 8% from the prior week and 30% from last year to a 1.3.

Games fared better than most during the week. CTD's Wheel of Fortune led the games, but dipped 1% to a 7.3. CTD's Jeopardy! declined 2% to a 6.1. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was one of the few shows to improve on the week, adding 5% to a 2.3. Debmar Mercury's Family Feud remained at a 1.8. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader advanced 11% to a 1.0.

CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace remained the season's top rookie, but slipped 8% to a 1.2. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics and Sony's Nate Berkus again tied at a 0.9 and were flat. Litton's Judge Karen's Court skidded 14% to a 0.6, while Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross was flat at a0.4.

Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother remained atop the off-net and off-cable strips with a steady 2.6. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns climbed 8% to a 1.4, tying Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine, which was unchanged. Disney-ABC's Ugly Betty, Dembar-Mercury's E! True Hollywood Story, Warner Bros.' Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives all were flat at a 0.8, 0.8, 0.7, 0.7, 0.5, respectively.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men declined 3% to a 6.0. Twentieth's Family Guy was flat at a 4.1. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids climbed 4% to a new season-high 2.9. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond was steady at a 2.8, while Sony's Seinfeld dipped 4% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.' George Lopez gained 4% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill rose 5% to a 2.3. NBCU's The Office fell 8% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Friends tumbled 10% to a 1.8.

Paige Albiniak
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.