Syndication Ratings: Dr. Phil’s Rx: Bad Weddings

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Bad weddings proved to be good for Oprah offspring Dr. Phil, whichclosed the gap on the mother ship during the week ended March 25.

Dr. Phil rose 10% to 4.5 with three originals and two reruns, moving to within 0.8 points of Oprah reruns (down 2% to 5.3)—the closest they have come this season in a non-holiday week.

The doctor benefited from a 4.9 rating on March 19 for an episode titled “Weddings Gone Bad,” with one segment featuring newlyweds involved in a motorcycle accident after leaving the ceremony.

So did CBS Television Distribution (CTD), which distributes both talk shows.

Three other talkers also gained week-to-week: Warner Bros.’ Ellen (up 5% to 2.3), NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer (7% higher to1.6) and CTD’s Montel (improving 7% to 1.6).

Most of the talk genre was relatively flat despite the loss of another 928,000 TV viewers from the previous week, bringing the total decline to 3.8 million viewers since the beginning of March.

With Daylight Savings Time starting three weeks earlier this year, more reruns and milder weather, viewers have been more interested in outdoor activities than television.

Meanwhile, shows with heavy access and early fringe clearances were impacted by the second week of the NCAA basketball playoffs on CBS affiliates.

CTD’s perennial magazine leader Entertainment Tonight was the most preempted syndicated strip, losing 25 metered markets, including the top four, to basketball on March 22 and 23. It still kept its losses to 4%, falling from 4.9 to 4.7.

Companion The Insider, preempted in 15 markets, including New York and Los Angeles, held steady at 2.3.

Other magazines were not affected by preemptions. They include CTD’s Inside Edition (rising 9% to 3.5), NBCU’s Access Hollywood (even at 2.8) and Warner Bros.’ Extra (off 4% to 2.2).

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