Syndication Ratings: Big Day at ‘The Office’

Show opens in syndication as highest new off-net of season

NBCU’s The Office opened with a bang, getting its first national rating in the week ending Sept. 27 and tying with CBS Television Distribution’s (CTD) Dr. Phil for ninth place among all syndicated strips right out of the box. It premiered with the highest national ratings of any new off-net show this season, with a 2.8.  It hit a 3.0 on Sept. 21. That made The Office the strongest off-net debut since Family Guy in 2007 and the highest-rated sitcom premiere since Friends in 1998, among the hard-to-reach young men 18-34 demo, with a 3.2 GAA demo rating.  

Meanwhile, Sony’s Dr. Oz, which debuted in first run at 2.3 the week ending Sept. 20, was up 4% to a 2.4 in its second outing. Other shows beginning their runs in off-net syndication included Twentieth’s My Name Is Earl, which got a 1.7, and CTD’s Everybody Hates Chris, with a 1.4.  America’s Funniest Home Videos remained at a 0.6 in its second week on the national chart.  Also joining the nationally-rated ranks were the first run Twentieth’s Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, which premiered at 1.5, and Litton’s Street Court, which started at 0.6.  

Among the established shows, only two magazines were up from the week before. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and its sister show The Insider (CTD) both got boosts from coverage of the Emmy cast. ET hit its highest ratings since late April, growing 8% from the week before to a 4.3 average, after seeing a 23% surge to 4.9 for its Emmy reports.  Inside Edition lost 3% to 3.1.  NBCU’s Access Hollywood was the no.3 magazine with an unchanged 2.1.  Warner Bros.’ TMZ fell 10% to 1.9. The Insider climbed 13% and scored its best rating in 11 weeks at 1.8.  Warner Bros.’ Extra declined 6% to 1.6.

In daytime, CTD’s Oprah took the biggest tumble in talk after a hot season premiere the week before, sliding 15% to a 5.2.  CTD’s Dr. Phil jumped 12% to 2.8 with a return visit from the Dr. Phil family, whom viewers first met six years ago, sending ratings up 24% to 3.1 on Sept. 21.  Disney/ABC’s Live With Regis and Kelly and Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres were unchanged at 2.3 and 2.1, respectively.  CTD’s The Doctors was up 6% to 1.8 and up a dramatic 50% from last year, which was the sharpest growth of any show in syndication by a very wide margin.  NBCU’s Maury was down 6% to 1.7.  CTD’s Rachael Ray stayed even week-to-week at 1.6.  NBCU’s Jerry Springer slipped 8% to 1.1, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which was flat.  Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams remained at a 1.0 for the third week in a row.  Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt added 14% to 0.8.  NBCU’s Martha Stewart surged 20% to 0.6.  

Among court shows, CTD’s Judge Judy had her biggest week since April with an 8% gain to 4.2. CTD’s Judge Joe Brown was the only other jurist besides Judy going up, rising 5% to 2.0. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, Twentieth’s Divorce Court, Twentieth’s Judge Alex and Warner Bros.’ Judge Jeanine Pirro were all flat at 1.8, 1.6, 1.3, 1.3, and 0.9, respectively.  

Game shows were mostly higher than the week before. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune added 8% to a 6.5. CTD’s Jeopardy gained 6% to 5.2. Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was up 5% to 2.3. NBCU’s Deal Or No Deal was flat at 1.2 and tied Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which increased 9% to 1.2.  

Off-net sitcoms headed south for the most part, though Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men was up 12% to 4.6.  Twentieth’s Family Guy dropped 9% to 3.2. Sony’s Seinfeld slid 13% to 2.6.  Warner Bros.’ George Lopez gave back 8% to 2.3. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond sank 24% to 2.2 and landed in a tie with Twentieth’s King of the Hill and Sony’s King of Queens, which were both down 4%, to 2.2. Warner Bros.’ Friends slipped 9% to 2.1. Debmar-Mercury’s House of Payne suffered a 15% loss, down to a 1.7.