Syndication Ratings: Dark Knight's Halo

Hollywood blockbuster The Dark Knight helps to boost entertainment magazines.
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The success of The Dark Knight -- the Hollywood blockbuster that has taken in nearly $400 million since its July 18 debut and broken all sorts of box-office records -- extended to syndication’s entertainment magazines in an otherwise slow week ending July 27.

CBS’ Entertainment Tonight, the top magazine show, climbed 3% to a 3.8 live-plus-same-day household rating for the week, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show’s best day was July 22, when ratings spiked 11% to a 4.1 with a program featuring extensive coverage on both The Dark Knight and its star, Christian Bale, who was arrested for verbally abusing his mother and sister as the movie was opening around the world.

In second place, CBS’ Inside Edition held firm at a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was up 5% to a 2.0. CBS’ The Insider, the only magazine that improved the previous week, dropped 5% to a 1.8, tying NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which just hired Dancing with the StarsMario Lopez to host the show come September, slipped 6% to a 1.5.

By comparison, none of the court shows was up from the previous week, although nine of the 11 were flat. As usual, CBS’ Judge Judy remained on top of the genre with an unchanged 4.5. Judy was followed by CBS’ Judge Joe Brown, which slipped 8% to a 2.3 to tie Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis, Twentieth Television’s Divorce Court, Twentieth’s Judge Alex and Sony’s Judge Hatchett -- which is out of production and heading into “best-of” repeats -- all were flat at 1.8, 1.6, 1.5 and 1.2, respectively. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court lost 9% to a 1.0, while Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez and Judge David Young and Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty all were flat at 0.8, 0.8 and 0.3, respectively.

Among the games, only CBS’ Jeopardy! improved from the prior week, jumping 2% to a 5.7 and gaining 6% from last year, making it one of just a handful of shows to improve year-to-year. CBS’ genre leader, Wheel of Fortune, fell 2% to a 6.5 but gained 2% from last year. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire remained at a season-low 2.6 for second week. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 1.8 but up 6% from last year. Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords, which will air repeats in season two, and Twentieth’s Temptation, which will not return for season two, were unchanged at a 0.8 and 0.5, respectively.

Among the talk shows, CBS’ leader, Oprah, edged up 2% to a 4.3. CBS’ Dr. Phil was down 3% to a 3.7 but up 3% for the year, making Phil the only talker to outperform its year-ago delivery. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly lost 7% to a 2.6. NBCU’s Maury, CBS’ Rachael Ray and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres all held firm at 1.9, 1.6 and 1.6, respectively. NBCU’s Jerry Springer and CBS’ Montel Williams, also heading into repeats next season, each gained 9% to a 1.2. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks and Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet remained tied and flat at a 1.0. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos dropped 20% to a 0.8, tying NBCU’s Martha Stewart, which was unchanged.

The off-net sitcoms bounced back after taking a drubbing in the prior week. Warner Bros.’ rookie leader, Two and a Half Men, was up 10% to a 4.6. Twentieth’s Family Guy added 5% to a 3.9. Sony’s Seinfeld climbed 9% to a 3.5. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond rose 7% to a 3.1, tying Warner Bros.’ George Lopez, which dipped 3%. Warner Bros.’ Friends gained 8% to a 2.8, while Sony’s King of Queens dropped 4% to a 2.7.

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