Syndication Ratings: Daytime Strips Hit by Presidential Speech

'Dr. Phil,' 'Crime Watch Daily' only talk shows to avoid annual downturns as result of news preemption
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Politics continued to interrupt regular TV programming in the week ending Nov. 20, which was nearly the end of the November sweep.

On Monday, Nov. 14, President Obama gave a lengthy press conference in advance of his final international tour as president that preempted many daytime syndicated shows.

CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader Dr. Phil remained on top with a 3.6 live plus same day average household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, even though the show’s day-to-day average dropped by a full ratings point to a 2.8 on Monday, Nov. 14, due to preemptions. That was up 3% for the week and 6% compared to the same week last year. Phil also led talk among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 at a 1.6.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres remained in a tight race for second, with Ellen unchanged in households at a 2.5 despite being downgraded in four NBC owned markets, including New York and Los Angeles. Ellen managed to top Live with Kelly, which dipped 4% to a 2.4, for the first time since the week ended Dec. 21, 2014.

Only seven-tenths of a ratings point separated the remaining 11 talk shows. NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey, which will launch as a new show from Los Angeles next fall, slid 6% to a 1.6 to tie NBCU’s Maury, which improved 7%. Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams was unchanged at a 1.5. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos also held steady at a 1.4, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which rose 8%. NBCU’s Jerry Springer stayed at a 1.3, while Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz dropped 8% to a 1.2. 

NBCU’s rookie Harry, which is moving to 2 p.m. time periods in four top markets, took a hit in its 10th week, with preemptions due to Obama’s speech in New York, Dallas, Phoenix and other large markets. That resulted in an 8% household decline to a 1.1. 

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Dailywith Chris Hansen and CTD’s The Doctors held steady for the week at a 1.0 and 0.9, respectively, although Crime Watch Daily was the only other talk show besides Dr. Phil to improve for the year, gaining 11%. Warner Bros.’ The Real rallied 13% to a 0.9 to tie CTD’s The Doctors.

CTD’s court leader Judge Judy ruled all of syndication for the 16th straight week with a 7.2, up 1% from the prior week. 

CTD’s Hot Bench gained 4% to a 2.5, matching its season high and tying Ellen.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was flat at a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved up 8% to a new season-high 1.4. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was unchanged at a 1.0 for the eighth straight week. Trifecta’s Judge Faith remained at a 0.8 for a fourth consecutive session.

Access was unaffected by news preemptions, and with shorter days comes higher ratings.

All of the game shows notched new season highs. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud picked up 3% to a 7.0. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune spelled a 5% increase to a 6.4. CTD’s Jeopardy! answered with a 3% advance to a 6.0. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which aired a special “Whiz Kids Week,” earned a 6% gain to a 1.7, while Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game earned 8% to a 1.4. 

Meanwhile, Disney-ABC’s viral video show, RightThisMinute, stood pat at a 1.5.

The top-tier magazines all were steady to higher. 

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight led the field with a 6% spike to a 3.4. CTD’s Inside Edition and Warner Bros.’ TMZ were on par with their prior frames with a 3.0 and 1.6, respectively. NBCU’s Access Hollywood added 7% to a 1.5, although the show was still down 21% from last year at this time, the most of any magazine. Warner Bros.’ Extra held firm at a 1.3. CTD’s The Insider scored the biggest gain of any strip in syndication, adding 20% for the week to a 1.2, thanks in part to extensive coverage of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly talking on camera for the first time about being sexually harassed at Fox News.

Twentieth’s Dish Nation stayed at a 0.8 for the third straight week, while Trifecta’s CelebrityPage turned in its usual 0.3 for the 34th week in a row.

Like the games, many of the off-net sitcoms hit new season highs. Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory advanced 9% to a new season-high 5.8. Twentieth’s Modern Family improved 11% to a new season-high 3.0. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men motored ahead 4% to a new season-high 2.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy grew 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly gained 6% to a 1.9. Twentieth’s newcomer Last Man Standing was flat at a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls grew 6% to a 1.8. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and The Cleveland Show both gained 8% to a 1.4. SPT’s Seinfeld and Twentieth’s King of the Hill both climbed 8% to a 1.3.