At Season's End, Most of What Grows Are DeclinesMany syndicated shows saw year-over-year ratings drops, but a few stood out—starting with Steve Harvey 6/03/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Showing growth was a badge of
honor for syndicated shows at the end
of the 2012-13 TV season, with yearto-
year improvement being much more the
exception than the norm.
Among talk shows, only three improved in
household ratings from last season, with the
top finisher being Warner Bros.’ Ellen, up 4%
to a 2.5 live-plus-same-day national household
rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Also in the black were NBCUniversal’s
Steve Wilkos, up 8% to a 1.4, and Debmar-
Mercury’s Wendy Williams, up 9% to a 1.2.
“Anytime a show that’s been on for a while
is able to grow audience, that’s a good thing,”
says Bill Carroll, VP, programming, Katz Television
CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader,
Dr. Phil, was flat for the season at a 3.0 but
led the talk genre by a wide margin, beating
Disney/ABC Television’s Live! With Kelly and
Michael by four-tenths of a ratings point and
by 500,000 viewers. Phil also improved 6%
among daytime’s key demographic of women
25-54, leading all talkers with a 1.7.
“I have to give [Dr. Phil’s team] credit for refocusing
the show more on its roots,” says Carroll.
In 2009, Dr. Phil faced steep license-fee cuts
after the show’s ratings dropped, but today the
show appears to be fully back on track.
It also was a good year for Live!, which added
Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s cohost last September.
Live! ended the season down 4% in
households, or one-tenth of a ratings point, but
it was steady in every demographic and was
up 9% among women 18-49 and 10% among
Still, the year’s
was a talk rookie.
“This year’s biggest
Steve Harvey, hands
down,” says Carroll.
produced by Endemol
at 3 p.m., leading
into Ellen on most
1.6 rating/5 share
in the weighted
Harvey this season improved its time periods
by 45% and its lead-ins by 23%.
Conversely, “the surprise disappointment
was probably Ricki Lake,” Carroll says. Twentieth
launched Ricki last fall. “Most people believe
that show had all the right elements, it
just unfortunately never came together.”
Ricki, like CBS Television Distribution’s Jeff
Probst, will not return this fall.
Other genres did not fare so well. Every entertainment
magazine was down for the season,
with CTD’s Entertainment Tonight dropping 3%
in households and 10% among women 25-54.
CTD’s Inside Edition also fell 3% in households
and 12% among women 25-54. Warner Bros.’
TMZ fell 5% in households but held steady
among women 25-54. NBCU’s Access Hollywood
lost 11% in households and 8% among
women 25-54. Warner Bros.’ Extra dropped 6%
in households and 10% among women 25-54.
Finally, CTD’s omg! Insider, which was revamped
in January, lost 18% for the season to a 1.4, and
20% in the women 25-54 demo.
Game shows were mixed and included
syndication’s other huge Steve Harvey-related
success story this season: Debmar-Mercury’s
Family Feud. The Harvey-hosted show, upgraded
into access time slots in many markets,
improved 57% this year over last, jumping to
a 4.7 season-to-date household rating from
last year’s 3.0. Family Feud also improved 50%
among women 25-54 to a 2.4, beating CTD’s
Jeopardy! for second place in the demo.
Jeopardy! also gained 7% for the season to a
6.2 and 10% to a 2.3 among women 25-54.
CTD’s game leader, Wheel of Fortune, dipped
1% to a 6.9 in households and declined 4%
among women 25-54. Disney/ABC’s Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire, which this fall will
replace host Meredith Vieira with Cedric the
Entertainer, fell 4% to a 2.4.
CTD’s Judge Judy was the queen of both
court shows and syndication as a whole, tying
with Wheel for the lead in first-run syndication
at a 6.9 household rating, down 1% for
the season but up 6% among women 25-54.
The picture was not so rosy for the rest of
the court genre, with CTD’s departing Judge
Joe Brown down 18% for the year to a 2.3.
Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was down 14%
to a 1.8, while Judge Mathis fell 6% to a 1.5.
Twentieth’s pair of court shows, Divorce Court
and Judge Alex, were down 13% and 19%,
respectively, to tie at a 1.3.