Talk Leads Syndie Ratings

While the syndication world is still scrambling to react to the merger of The WB and UPN, there is some positive ratings news to take in, according to the national live plus same day household ratings for the week ending Jan. 22.

Led by talk shows, game shows and court shows, strong ratings for the week were also buoyed by a strong Monday, Jan. 16, with many viewers home for the Martin Luther King holiday.

The talk-show genre was especially strong on the week; all 11 first-run talk shows were up week-to-week, with five of them tying season-high average ratings.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

led the way as usual; its 7.9 rating was a 16% jump from the previous week. Dr. Phil was next with a 5.5 rating, up 2% for the week, while Live With Regis and Kelly followed with a 3.6, good for a 3% bump week-to-week.


tied its season-best number with a 3.3, a genre-topping 22% jump in ratings week-to-week. The Ellen Degeneres Show gained 4% to a 2.5, followed by Jerry Springer and Montel, both of which advanced 10% for the week to tie their season highs at a 2.3. The Tony Danza Show and Starting Over also both tied season highs, Danza up 8% to a 1.3 and Starting Over gaining 9% for the week to a 1.2.

Of the rookie talkers, Martha and The Tyra Banks Show were each up 6% week-to-week, Martha to a 1.8 and Tyra to a 1.7.

It was also another strong week for the top game shows, as the top three in the genre all hit new season highs for the second consecutive week. Wheel of Fortune topped the category as usual, up 3% for the week to a 9.3. Jeopardy! was next with a 7.5, up 1% for the week, while Who Wants To Be a Millionaire gained 3% for the week to a 3.6.

In the court-show genre, four of the top five were up week-to-week, with only category heavyweight Judge Judy the exception, down 2% on the week to a 5.0. Judge Joe Brown gained 6% to a 3.4, The People’s Court was up 3% to a 3.0, Divorce Court picked up 8% week-to-week with a 2.8 and Judge Mathis was up 13% to a 2.6.

But the year-over-year numbers were not as glowing, perhaps notable even as two more court shows are due out in the fall (Sony Pictures Television’s Judge Maria Lopez and Twentieth Television’s Cristina’s Court). Judy was off 6%, Joe Brown was down 15%, Divorce Court lost 7% and Mathis was down 4%, with People’s Court (up 3%) the only one of the top five court shows not down year-over-year.

In the entertainment-news magazine category, Entertainment Tonight continued its march towards 500 weeks on top of the genre, tying its season high for the second straight week with a 5.5. The show has been on top of the genre now for 498 consecutive weeks.

Inside Edition

was up 6% week-to-week with a 3.8, followed by ET spin-off The Insider at a 2.9, which was down 6% from the previous week, in which it tied its top rating ever. Access Hollywood was flat on the week at a 2.7, while Extra was up 4% to a 2.5.

In off-net sitcoms, Everybody Loves Raymond was up 1% to a 6.8, while Seinfeld gained 7% for the week to a season-best 6.2. Friends lost 2% for the week at a 5.1.