Syndication Ratings: Daytime Perks Up on Verge of May Sweep

Access magazines, sitcoms remain slow in face of longer, warmer days
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One week before the start of the May sweep, the daytime talk shows started heating up.

In the week ended April 20, 10 of the 11 highest-rated talkers climbed from the previous week, with more than half of those showing double-digit increases from last year at this time. CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil set the pace, finishing first for the 33rd time in the past 37 weeks with a 3.1 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, an uptick of 3% from the prior week and 11% from the same week one year ago.

Disney/ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, which is having its strongest delivery in seven years this season, came in second with a 4% weekly gain to a 2.9, and a 21% jump from last year at this time. Among women 25-54, Live tied Phil at a 1.6.

In third place, Warner Bros.’ Ellen was the only talker in the top-11 that didn’t improve among households for the week or the year, remaining flat at its season-low 2.4.

NBCUniversal’s Maury rose 11% for the week and year to a 2.1 in fourth place, coming the closest to Ellen since the week of Dec. 29. Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz spiked 5% to a 2.0 in households. Oz also jumped 9% to a 1.2 among women 25-54, that show’s best demo rating in six weeks.

NBCU’s Steve Harvey leaped 13% to a 1.8 in households and scored the biggest year-to-year improvement of any talker, growing 29%. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos added 7% to a 1.5, tying Disney/ABC’s Katie, which improved 15%. Wilkos also posted the second-largest year-to-year gain of any talker, surging 25%.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, coming back to original episodes, improved 40% to a 1.4 for the week, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which rose 8%. NBCU’s Jerry Springer spurted 18% to a 1.3. CTD’s The Doctors, which aired its 1,000th episode on Tuesday, April 29, held steady at a 1.1, while NBCU’s Trisha, which will end its run after this season, and Meredith’s The BetterShow each were flat at a 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.

Among the newcomers, SPT’s Queen Latifah, the only new daytime show that will return next fall, held steady at a 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Bethenny rebounded 17% from last week’s season low to a 0.7. CTD’s The Test remained at a 0.6 for the eighth week in a row.

In late-night, CTD’s Arsenio Hall perked up 17% to a 0.7.

Elsewhere in daytime, all of the court shows improved from the prior week. CTD’s Judge Judy presided over syndication with a 7.0, up 4% from the prior session and up 13% from last year at this time. Warner Bros.’ People's Court, in second place, added 13% for the week to a 1.8. Twentieth’s Judge Alex, in its final months on the air, jumped 15% to a 1.5, tying Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and Twentieth’s Divorce Court, both of which improved 7%. MGM’s newcomer Paternity Court gained 10% for the week to a 1.1.

Warner Bros’ Extra delivered the largest week-to-week gain among the top six, improving 7% to a 1.5 and tying NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which was off 6%. CTD’s Entertainment Tonight led the genre for the 925th straight week, or nearly 18 years, but dipped 3% to a 3.3. CTD’s Inside Edition slumped 7% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ TMZ recovered 6% to a 1.8, while CTD’s The Insider held steady at a 1.3.

MGM’s viral-video show, RightThisMinute, rose 10% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s Dish Nation rebounded 11% to a 1.0. Trifecta’s America Now, ending after this season, and freshman OK! TV both were unchanged at a 0.3.

CTD’s Wheel of Fortune led the games, speeding up 5% to a 6.6 from the prior week’s 6.3. CTD’s Jeopardy! continued to remain within striking distance of the top spot, tacking on 3% to a 6.4. Not far behind, Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud finished 4% higher at a 5.0, while Disney/ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire lagged at a 2.1, up 5% for the week.

While daytime shows picked up speed, the off-net sitcoms continued to slump in the face of longer days and warmer weather. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory was unchanged at a 5.8, remaining at its lowest score since December. Twentieth’s newcomer Modern Family picked up 5% to 4.2. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men weakened 3% to a 3.4. Twentieth’s Family Guy gave back 13% to a 2.7. SPT’s Seinfeld strengthened 11% to a 2.0. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show was steady at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Friends was flat at a 1.8 for the ninth week in a row, tying Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother, which also was flat.