Santa Delivers Ratings Coal To Syndies

'Regis and Kelly,' 'Divorce Court' stand out in tough week
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Santa had few gifts in his bag for syndies in the week ended Dec. 28, when only two first-run shows with household ratings averages above 1.0 – Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly and Twentieth’s Divorce Court -- managed to squeak out weekly increases.

In a week filled with repeats and preemptions, nearly every other syndicated show was down and steeply so.
Regis and Kelly gained 10% on the week to a new season high 3.2, according to Nielsen Media Research, after breaking out a very low-rated Christmas Day from its weekly average. Regis and Kelly came within 0.7 of a ratings point of CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader, Oprah, which fell 13% to a new season low 3.9. That margin was the smallest between the first and third place shows in recent memory. The gap between the two has been as large as three ratings points this season.

In second place, CTD’s Dr. Phil dove 19% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, which hit a season high in the prior week, plunged 22% to a 2.1. CTD’s Rachael Ray and NBC Universal’s Maury each held steady at a 1.8. NBC U’s Jerry Springer fell 8% to a 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks fell 9% to a 1.0. Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and NBC U’s Steve Wilkos each dropped 10% to a 0.9. NBC U’s Martha Stewart slipped 11% to a 0.8.
Divorce Court did include Christmas Day in its average and still managed to climb 7% to a 1.5, tying Twentieth’s Judge Alex, which fell 6% to a new season low. CTD’s top court, Judge Judy, dropped 11% to a 4.1. In second place, CTD’s Judge Joe Brown, was off 8% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court dipped 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis skidded 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court dipped 8% to a 1.1. Sony’s Judge David Young jumped 13% to a 0.9, one of only a handful of shows to improve on the week.

Among the rookies, NBC U’s Deal or No Deal continued to lead the field, but fell 11% to a 1.7. CTD’s The Doctors dipped 6% to a 1.6.

Sony’s Judge Karen and Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt each were flat at a 1.0 and 0.9, respectively.

Program Partners’ Family Court with Judge Penny was flat at a 0.6, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Trivial Pursuit: America Plays, which dropped 14%.

Litton’s off-cable weekly Storm Stories improved 17% to a 1.4.

Debmar-Mercury’s off-TBS strip House of Payne plummeted 32% to a 1.7.

Disney-ABC’s first-run weekly action hour, Legend of the Seeker, sank 14% to a 1.9.

All of the magazines, which were mostly in repeats, took big hits. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight remained on top but down a whopping 26% to a 3.2. CTD’s Inside Edition fell 16% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, in originals, declined 9% to a 2.0. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood lost 14% to a 1.9. CTD’s The Insider decreased 16% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Extra fell 17% to a 1.5.

Similarly, all the game shows were down by double digits. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune tumbled 13% to a 6.7. CTD’s Jeopardy! slid 16% to a 5.4. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire plunged 14% to a 2.4 Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 13% to a 1.3.

Ratings for off-net sitcoms also were no laughing matter. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men dove 17% to a new season low 4.3. Twentieth’s Family Guy fell 14% to a 3.7. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond dipped 6% to a 3.1, but made its first appearance in third place in weeks. Sony’s Seinfeld plummeted 22% to a new season low 2.9. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez lost 7% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ Friends faded 11% to a 2.4 and Sony’s King of Queens dropped 12% to a new season low 2.3.