The beginning of daylight savings time led to the subsequent annual drop in syndicated ratings according to the national household numbers for the week ending March 16.
Also factoring in were several pre-emptions in the New York market as newscasts expanded to cover the breaking Eliot Spitzer news.
In all, people-using-television levels were down by 3.6 million viewers on the week.
With that, only one show in first-run syndication actually was up on the week: Ellen, which crept up 5% to a 2.2.
Elsewhere in talk shows, Oprah dropped 13% to a 4.6, finishing just ahead of her offspring, Dr. Phil, which had a 4.3 average (down 4% on the week). Phil was the only talk show up year-over-year, a 5% bounce.
Live with Regis and Kelly was off 7% to a season-low 2.7, while Montel Williams (1.3) and Jerry Springer (1.1) also turned in season lows.
Judge Judy bullied the court genre once again, finishing as the top-rated gaveler for the 600th consecutive week. The show was down 9% on the week to a 4.8, which was actually up 7% year-over-year.
Every other court show was also down or flat on the week, with People’s Court (2.3) and Judge Hatchett (1.2) turning in season lows.
One week after seeing a bounce on the heels of revelations about American Idol stripper-turned-singer David Hernandez, the newsmagazines shed those gains, with every show down on the week except for TMZ, which held steady at a 2.2. Entertainment Tonight led the category as always, but it was down 10% to a 4.5.
In game shows, Wheel of Fortune was off 14% to a 7.4, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire dropped 3% to a 2.8, Family Feud was even at a 2.0 (and up 11% on the year), Merv Griffin’s Crosswords dropped 13% to a season-low 0.7 and Temptation was flat at a 0.5. Ratings for Jeopardy! were being reprocessed by Nielsen Media Research and were not available at press time.