Relationships, Fun Sweep Viewers Off Their FeetFamily-friendly talk shows emerge as the big February ratings winners 3/11/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Talk shows focused on family, relationships and fun emerged as the stars of
this year’s closely watched February sweeps in syndication. Shows that took on
such drier topics as health and weight loss, however, saw their fortunes fade
as sweeps drew to a close.
CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader, Dr. Phil, distinguished itself by holding
strong, leading all talk shows by more than half of a ratings point and an average
of more than 700,000 viewers at a 3.3
live-plus-same-day national household
rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Compared with the February
2012 sweeps, Dr. Phil dropped 3% in
households, but the show added 5%
among daytime’s key demographic of
women 25-54; Phil also led in that key
category at a 1.9.
The battle for second place among
the talkers is tighter, with Warner Bros.’
Ellen tied with Disney/ABC’s Live! With
Kelly and Michael at a 2.7. Among the
key women 25-54 demographic, Ellen
edged out Live! as well, notching a 1.8
to Live!’s 1.6.
Neither show is experiencing drastic
swings. Sweep-to-sweep, Ellen was up
4% in households and 5% among women
25-54, while Live! was down 4% in
HH, up 5% among women 25-54.
“Those are solid, sustainable numbers,
and that’s all you can ask or hope for from these long-running shows,” says
Bill Carroll, VP, director of programming, Katz Television Group.
Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz—whose affable host offers plenty of health tips—
is holding on to fourth place among the talkers. But the show was down 17% in
households to a 2.4 and 18% among women 25-54, to a 1.4.
“That show faces the most difficult time-period comparisons,” Carroll says of Dr. Oz,
“because it inherited more of the Oprah slots, so it’s getting the most scrutiny. It’s not surprising
there is some fluctuation in [Oz’s] rating. I don’t think most stations are concerned.
It may not be meeting stations’ most optimistic expectations, but [it’s] doing well enough.”
NBCUniversal’s stalwart Maury was in fifth place in households at a 2.4, down 8%
from last February. Maury remains the youth leader, winning among women 18-34 at
a 1.5 and women 18-49 at a 1.7. Among women 25-54, Maury placed third, behind
Dr. Phil and Ellen, at a 1.7, up 6%.
Disney/ABC’s rookie talker, Katie, ranked sixth among all talk shows—and first
among newbies—at a 1.9 in households. Meanwhile, NBCU’s Steve Harvey has been
on the rise, holding at its season-high 1.6 for six weeks in a row and last week finally
hitting a 1.7 for the first time. Katie and Harvey are neck-and-neck for the women
25-54 vote, tying for the February sweeps at a 1.0. Over the past two weeks, Harvey
has edged out Katie by one-tenth of a ratings point in that key demo.
Perhaps more importantly, Katie is down 5%—or a tenth of a ratings point—
since the show premiered at a 2.0 last September, while Harvey is up 25% since it
launched at a 1.2 last fall.
“Steve Harvey being able to break through has been this season’s happiest situation,”
says Carroll. “It wasn’t a surprise, but it certainly has been the positive for
which everyone hoped.”
CTD’s Jeff Probst and Twentieth’s
Ricki Lake tied for the February
sweeps at a 0.8 in households and at
a 0.5 among women 25-54. Neither
of those shows will return next year.
NBCU’s freshman, Trisha Goddard, will
be back even though it tied Debmar-
Mercury’s canceled Jeremy Kyle as talk’s
lowest-rated show at a 0.6 in households
and a 0.4 among women 25-54.
Returning to the middle of the talk
pack, CTD’s Rachael Ray, Harvey and
NBCU’s Steve Wilkos tied for seventh,
but that was much better news for Harvey
and Wilkos than it was for Ray.
Wilkos has emerged as talk’s rising
star, improving among households for
the sweep by 14% and among women
25-54 by 20%. Rachael Ray, on the
other hand, was flat sweep-to-sweep
in households and down 20% among
NBCU’s Jerry Springer also was flat
among households in 10th place at a
1.5, and down 10% among women 25-
54 at a 0.9.
Of next season’s returning talkers, CTD’s The Doctors saw the biggest year-to-year
drops, losing 18% in households to a 1.4 in the sweeps, and 33% among women
25-54. The Doctors’ ratings woes are expected to increase this fall when SPT’s Queen
Latifah takes its place on several CBS stations in big markets, pushing The Doctors
over to the lower-rated stations in those markets.
Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams has seen some growth, improving 8% in households
to a 1.3 and 11% among women 25-54 to a 1.0.
Finally, Warner Bros.’ Anderson Live, another show that will not return next season,
has lost the most ground, decreasing 27% among households to a 1.1 and dropping
33% among women 25-54 to a 0.6.
This year’s February sweeps ran from Jan. 31 through Feb. 27. The average ratings
listed here run through Feb. 24, with the sweeps’ final three days pending.