Headed into the February sweep, most syndication strips held back their best episodes in the week ending Jan. 29, resulting in some lackluster ratings. In addition, mild weather on the East Coast drove down viewing levels, while the President's annual State of the Union speech on Jan. 24 caused several shows to be preempted.
CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil was the top talker for the 14th time this season, remaining even at a 3.2 and up 19% from last year at this time, marking the largest year-to-year gain of any talk show. In second place, Sony's Dr. Oz dipped 3% to a 2.9, but was up 12% from last year. Both shows are benefiting from upgrades into time slots previously occupied by CTD's Oprah.
Disney-ABC's Live! With Kelly, which airs predominantly in morning slots, dropped 4% to a 2.6, down 7% from the same week last year. Tying Live! for third place were Warner Bros.' Ellen, up 4%, and NBCUniversal's Maury, which was flat, but holding steady at a season high, the show's best household rating in five years. Maury also is the top talk show among young adults.
CTD's Rachael Ray, nearing its 1000th episode, retreated 6% to a 1.6, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which remained steady at its season high. CTD's The Doctors declined 6%. NBCU's Steve Wilkos slid 7% to a 1.4. Sony's Nate Berkus, which will end its run after this season, added 10% to a 1.1, tying Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, which fell back 8%.
Warner Bros.' rookie, Anderson, which had been climbing in the ratings, dropped back to a 1.4, off 13% from the series high it set the prior week. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle and Entertainment Studios' We the People each were unchanged at a 0.7 and 0.5, respectively. CTD's new late-night dating show, Excused, dropped 14% to a 0.6.
Also in daytime, CTD's Judge Judy matched its season best and tied CTD's Wheel of Fortune as the highest -rated show in syndication at a 7.6, up 1% week to week in households and up 6% among women 25-54 to a 3.4. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was the only other court show to improve, gaining 7% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.' People's Court faded 5% to a 2.1. Twentieth's Judge Alex dropped 5% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.7. Twentieth's Divorce Court weakened 6% to a 1.5. CTD's Swift Justice was off 7% to a 1.4. Entertainment Studios' America's Court declined 10% to a 0.9.
Even sitcoms, which tend to flourish in the colder, darker days of winter, slumped. CTD's The Big Bang Theory remained the top off-net sitcom, dipping just 1% to a 7.3. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men skidded 10% to a 6.4. Debmar-Mercury's Family Guy dipped 2% to a 4.1. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother slumped 11% to a 3.4. Sony's Seinfeld advanced 4% to a 2.7. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond rallied 4% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.' Friends and Twentieth's King of the Hill each were flat at a 2.3 and 2.1, respectively.
The rookie sitcoms, after Big Bang, fared a little better, with all three of them steady or up. NBCU's 30 Rock held steady at a 1.5. Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia brightened 8% to a 1.3. Sony's ‘Til Death revived 17% to a 0.7.
Magazines were preempted in many markets on January 24 due to the State of the Union address. CTD's Entertainment Tonight dipped 5% to a 3.9. CTD's Inside Edition slid 3% to a 3.3. Warner Bros.' TMZ added 5% to a new season-high 2.2. NBCU's Access Hollywood eased 9% to a 2.0. CTD's The Insider held steady at a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra gave back 6% to a 1.6.
All of the game shows declined. CTD's Wheel of Fortune dipped 1% to a 7.6, but remained at the head of the pack, tying Judge Judy for syndication's lead. CTD's Jeopardy! softened 3% to a 6.2. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud lost 3% to a 3.1. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire fell 4% to a 2.6.