Dr. Phil edged closer to talk leader Oprah in the syndicated ratings for the week ending Nov. 12, the first full week of the November sweeps, with his highest ratings since May 2005.
That was part of a generally buoyant week for talkers and most magazine shows.
Phil was up 11% from the prior week to a 5.9 and was the only talker up over the same week last year, with a 7% bump. He was helped by a 6.6, just making it into his top-five all time ratings performances, for a Nov. 6 episode in which it took a lie detector to settle a family dispute. Oprah still led the way at a 7.2, but that was down 6%.
Also hitting new season highs were Maury, up 4% to a 2.5 for fourth place, and Jerry Springer, up 13% to a season-best 1.8, in sixth place. Springer's ratings are up 29% in the past month, likely do to the buzz generated by his appearance as a contestant on ABC's highly rated Dancing With the Stars.
Live With Regis & Kelly dropped the costumes but held onto their Halloween-week ratings, staying even at a 3.5. Ellen Degeneres was also unchanged from the week before with a 2.1 rating. Rounding out the unchanged trio was Montel at a 1.7.
Tyra Banks was up 15% to a 1.5, while Martha Stewart held steady at a 1.4, though its highest ratings of the season in 10 metered markets, including three of the top 15.
In rookie action, Rachael Ray continued to crush the newcomers, up 5% to a 2.1 and up 20% in the key women 18-49 demo to a 1.2.
Dr. Keith Ablow was well below Ray's 2.1, in second with a 1.1 rating, though that was up 10%. Greg Behrendt followed at a .9, up 13%. Megan Mullally was unchanged at a .8.
In the magazine category, Entertainment Tonight scored its best ratings in eight months with a 5.6, up 4% from the prior week thanks to its coverage of the NOv. 8 divorce filing by Britney Spears. ET was also the only mag to improve its rating over last year at this time, up 2%.
The Spears coverage boosted ratings 20% from the prior week to a 6.0, ET's strongest performance since March 6, the day after the Oscars.
Inside Edition recorded a 3.6, up 6%. ET spin-off, The Insider, took third with a 2.7, up 4%, while Access Hollywood was unchanged at a 2.6 and Extra! scored a new season-high 2.3, up 10%.
Game and court shows were little changed.