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Talkers Tops In Week Before Christmas

Talk shows got an early holiday gift in the week ended Dec. 19, with at-home holiday viewers choosing to tune in.

Other than CBS Television Distribution's talk leader, Oprah, which was in repeats, every talk show was up or even with the prior week. Four talk shows hit new season highs: Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly was up 7% from the prior week to a 2.9; Warner Bros.' Ellen improved 13% to a 2.7; CBS Television Distribution's Rachael Ray rallied 13% to a 1.7; and NBC Universal's Jerry Springer added 7% to a 1.5. All ratings are live plus same day national household averages, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Oprah, on the other hand, was the only show in syndication to hit a new season low, dropping 7% to a 4.2. In third place, CTD's Dr. Phil climbed 4% to a 2.8. Sony's Dr. Oz, in fourth place, advanced 4% to a 2.4.NBC U's Maury grew 5% to a 2.1. CTD's The Doctors remained even at a 1.8, while NBCU's Steve Wilkos and Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams each held steady at a 1.3 and 1.1, respectively.

CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace led the freshman field for the 14th week in a row, improving 8% from the prior week to a 1.3. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics moved past Sony's Nate Berkus to take second place among the rookies, gaining 11% to a new series high 1.0. Berkus remained flat at a 0.9. Litton's Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross, recently renewed through the 23011-2012 season, each were flat at a 0.6 and 0.4, respectively.

With Oprah in repeats, CTD's Judge Judy was daytime's number-one show, hitting a 4.4, down 2% from the prior week with a mix of repeats and originals. CTD's Judge Joe Brown and Warner Bros.' People's Court were unchanged at a 2.0 and 1.8, respectively. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis fell 6% to a 1.5. Twentieth's Divorce Court and Judge Alex and Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro all were flat at a 1.3, 1.2 and 1.0.

In access, CTD's Entertainment Tonight was one of only two magazines to see improvement on the week, topping the genre at a 4.0 and gaining 3% from the prior week after seeing a 10% spike on December 14 to a 4.3 for its coverage of the Golden Globe nominations. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition was the only other gainer, adding 7% to a 3.1. NBCU's Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.' TMZ held firm at a 2.0 and 1.9, respectively. CTD's The Insider dipped 6% to a 1.7, tying Warner Bros.' Extra, which was even for the week.

Game shows were mostly steady. CTD's leader, Wheel of Fortune, dipped 1% to a 7.2. CTD's Jeopardy! and Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire each were flat at a 6.1 and 2.3, respectively. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud faded 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? was even at a 1.0.

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men continued to prevail, flat for the week at a 6.0. Twentieth's Family Guy rose 2% to hit a new season-high 4.2. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids was unchanged at a 2.9, tying CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond for third place, although Raymond upticked 4%. Sony's Seinfeld and Warner Bros.' George Lopez were flat at a 2.7 and 2.4. NBCU's The Office improved 5% to a 2.3. Twentieth's King of the Hill fell 4% to a 2.2 and Warner Bros.' Friends was flat at a 1.8.

Among the rookie off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother led the pack at a 2.5, a 4% drop from the prior week. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns and Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine remained tied at an unchanged 1.4. Disney-ABC's hour-long Ugly Betty leaped 13% to a 0.9. Debmar-Mercury's E! True Hollywood Story, Warner Bros.' Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives all were steady at a 0.8, 0.7, 0.7 and 0.5, respectively.