Syndication's top talk and court shows were up significantly in the May sweeps, according to final results from the 56 metered markets.
Warner Bros.' top rookie, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has the strongest time-period improvement of any daytime strip in first-run syndication, according to primary-run weighted averages for the April 29-26 sweep period.
Ellen spiked 47% over last May to a 2.8 rating/8 share average, finishing as the number-four talk show in its first May sweep and increasing its average metered-market lead-in by 22%.
King World's Dr. Phil had the biggest increase over its lead-in of any show in daytime, up 87% to a 5.8/14 average, good enough for second place among talkers and up 12% from last year's time period average. King World's Oprah, in the top spot, averaged a 7.3/18, up 9% from its year-ago time periods and up 55% from its lead-in.
Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly was in third place at a 4.2/14, up 5% from its lead-in. Live also won its time slot in six of the seven largest markets, although it was down 7% from last May, when Kelly Ripa's return from maternity leave boosted the ratings.
In fifth place, NBC Universal's Maury averaged a 2.3/7, up a solid 13% from its lead-in and even with its year-ago time period mark.
Paramount's Judge Judy was the big winner in court, scoring a 4.1/10, up 14% from its lead-in and up 3% from May 2003. Paramount's Judge Joe Brown was up sharply from its lead-in and year-ago averages, gaining 12% in each category and landing firmly in second place with a 2.9/8.
At number three, Warner Bros.' People's Court averaged a 2.3/7 and was up 21% from its average lead-in and 15% from last year's time periods.
In fourth place, Warner Bros.' Judge Greg Mathis had the most dramatic lead-in improvement of any court show, up 50% to a 2.1/6 share and up 11% from last May. Tying Mathis for fourth with a 2.1/6 was Twentieth's Divorce Court, even with both its lead-in and May 2003 time period averages.