Sitcoms Score in Syndie


Thanks to a marathon run on cable’s TBS and the second week of the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS, it was a good week for old Friends, according to the live plus same day national syndication ratings for the week ending March 26.

A TBS weekend marathon propelled the Warner Bros. sitcom to the biggest week-to-week jump in syndication and upended Everybody Loves Raymond as the leader in off-net comedies. Friends’ average rating climbed 43% to a season-high 6.6.


was flat for the week at a 6.1, followed by Seinfeld’s 5.6, which was off 3% on the week.

Unlike the sitcoms, entertainment newsmagazines Entertainment Tonight and The Insider were unable to avoid week two of March Madness, which caused numerous preemptions in access time periods. With heavy clearances on CBS affiliates, ET was the most preempted show in syndication, losing 26 metered markets, including all of the top five, to basketball.

With that, the show was down 2% on the week to a 4.8 average, though up 4% from the corresponding week last year. Spinoff The Insider lost 16 metered markets, ending up flat for the week and the year at a 2.5.

Inside Edition

was up 6% to a 3.5, Access Hollywood was even on the week at a 2.6 and Extra fell 5% to a 2.1.

In talk, Oprah and Dr. Phil bounced back from last week’s basketball-induced season lows. Oprah gained 14% on the week to a 6.6, while Dr. Phil was up 11% to a 5.1. Elsewhere, Live With Regis and Kelly fell 9% to a 3.2, Maury dropped 4% to a 2.6 and Ellen was up 5% to a 2.2.

The rookies continued to stay around the same levels, with Martha and The Tyra Banks Show each averaging a 1.7, which was off 6% for Martha and flat for Tyra.

With court trends still in the sights of syndicators who continue to roll out new fare in the genre, only The People’s Court was up year-over-year for the week. Its 2.7 average rating was up 12% on the year and 4% on the week. Category topper Judge Judy weighed in at a 5.0, up 4% on the week but off 4% on the year. Judge Joe Brown was flat for the week and down 11% on the year at a 3.1, Divorce Court was off 4% on the week and 10% on the year at a 2.7, and rookie Judge Alex gained 4% on the week to a 2.4.