The first full week of daylight saving time turned out the lights on syndication in the week ending March 17 with most shows down or flat.
Making matters worse were preemptions for pre-March Madness college basketball tournaments, such as the SEC and Big Ten in some markets, as well as coverage of President Donald Trump’s March 15 veto of the resolution to reverse his national emergency declaration for a border wall.
For example, the games were no fun. CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy!, which had finished first in the genre for three straight weeks and whose long-time host Alex Trebek revealed on March 6 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, tumbled 9% from the prior week to a 6.3. Stablemate Wheel of Fortune was right behind, sliding 6% to a 6.2. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which had been the usual leader until recently, fell 9% to a 16-week low 5.9.
Disney’s viral video show RightThisMinute was unchanged at a 1.3.
At the top of the chart, CTD’s Judge Judy — just nominated for a Daytime Emmy for outstanding courtroom program, along with Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and People’s Court — aired repeats on two days and eased 8% to a 6.9, easily topping the household field for the 36th straight week with four ties.
Judy, now in its 23rd season, was the only court ahead of last year, gaining 6%.
It was a split decision for the other gavelers. CTD’s Hot Bench, in reruns all week, lost 12% to a 2.2. People’s Court, following a seesaw pattern lately, recovered 7% to a 1.5. Judge Mathis maintained a 1.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was a consistent 0.7 for a third consecutive week.
In talk, CTD’s Dr. Phil featured encore episodes for most of the week and declined 10% to a 2.8. That was enough to lead the category for the 132nd week in a row with five ties. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.1.
Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan took second place for a third straight week, despite dipping 4% to a 2.3. Hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest both were nominated in the outstanding entertainment talk-show host category along with Wendy Williams and the hosts of Warner Bros.’ The Real.
Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres returned to originals after a week of repeats and added 6% to a third-place 1.9. The show was nominated as outstanding entertainment talk show, along with Warner Bros.’ The Real, while Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz, CTD.’s Rachael Ray and NBCU’s Access Live were all nominated in the outstanding informative talk show category. DeGeneres does not enter the host category after winning four Daytime Emmys in that role.
NBCUniversal’s Maury stayed at a 1.4, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which, in the host’s second week back after taking two months off, gave back 7%. NBCU’s Steve, in repeats for part of the week, was off 8% to al 1.2. Daytime hosts Steve Harvey, Kellie Pickler and Ben Aaron, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Rachael Ray all were nominated outstanding informative talk show host.
NBCU’s Steve Wilkos weakened 8% to a 1.1, tying Dr. Oz and Rachael Ray, both of which held steady. The Real recorded a 0.7 for a tenth straight week. CTD’s The Doctors delivered a 0.6 for the sixth straight week. Disney’s Pickler & Ben stayed at a 0.4 for an eighth consecutive week, tying the syndicated run of the out-of-production Jerry Springer, which was cemented at a 0.4 for the 27th straight week.
CTD’s freshman Face the Truth was flat at a 0.8, while Debmar-Mercury’s already-renewed court rookie Caught in Providence retreated 14% to a 0.6.
Magazines like the access game shows were bumped by basketball tourney coverage in some markets and pulled back from near season-high levels the prior week with coverage of the untimely death of 90210 star Luke Perry at age 52.
CTD’s Entertainment Tonight yielded 3% to a 3.1, tying corporate cousin Inside Edition, which sagged 6% to a 3.1. NBCU’s Access backtracked 7% to a 1.3, tying Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which was flat. Warner Bros.’ Extra relinquished 8% to a 1.1. CTD’s DailyMailTV declined 17% to a 1.0, although the sophomore strip was just nominated for a Daytime Emmy as the outstanding entertainment news program along with Extra, ET, Access and Inside Edition.
Twentieth’s Page Six TV rebounded 17% from a season low to a 0.7, while Trifecta’s Celebrity Page lost 33% to a 0.2 from a 0.3.
NBCU’s Dateline led the crime shows for the 27th straight week, adding 8% to a 1.4. SPT’s off- A&E Live PD Police Patrol perked up 10% to a 1.1, while off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files revealed an unchanged 0.3.
Among scripted strips, NBCU’s off-net rookie Chicago PD held steady at its season-high 1.1.
Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory, in its final weeks on CBS’ primetime, slipped 4% to a 4.5 to lead the off-net sitcoms. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing sprang up 4% to a 2.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family faded 5% to a 1.9. SPT’s The Goldbergs and Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men both moved down 7% to a 1.4, tying Twentieth’s Family Guy, which stood pat. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly erased 8% to a 1.1, tying Disney’s Black-ish which broke even. SPT’s Seinfeld was stable at a 1.0 and equaling Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, which also held steady.