Each year of Fox’s American Idol brings at least one scandal, and this one has been no different, with now-ousted top-12 finalist David Hernandez outed for serving as a stripper at a gay club in Phoenix for three years.
Hernandez’s shame proved seductive for syndication’s entertainment magazines, however: Coverage of that story boosted several of the top shows in the week ended March 9, the first full week out of the February sweeps.
With repeats on and promotions off, most of the rest of syndication was flat or down for the week.
CBS’ Entertainment Tonight, the top magazine, jumped 6% from the prior week to a 5.0 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, boasting the biggest increase of any first-run strip after a ho-hum February sweeps. That performance also translated to the key female demographics, with ET also up 20% in 18-34, 13% in women 18-49 and 10% in women 25-54.
In third place, NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood gained 4% to a 2.6 in households and 6% among women 25-54. Access Hollywood didn’t see across-the-board gains like ET, dropping 8% among women 18-34 and holding steady among women 18-49. At a 2.4, CBS’ The Insider was flat in households but up 13% among women 18-34, up 9% among 18-49 and unchanged among women 25-54. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, the top rookie at a 2.2, was flat in households but up 7% in women 25-54. TMZ was unchanged among women 18-49 and down 7% among women 18-34, the show’s favored demo.
Not every magazine grew on the week, however: CBS’ Inside Edition, in second place, dipped 3% to a 3.5, while Warner Bros.’ Extra lost 10% to a 1.8.
Meanwhile, talk tumbled after a relatively strong sweeps performance, with four of the top five shows dropping on the week.
CBS’ Oprah took the biggest fall, declining 13% to a 5.3 as the show left sweeps and entered repeats. CBS’ Dr. Phil fell 8% to a 4.5. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly tied its season low, losing 9% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres declined 9% from the prior week to a 2.1, but it was still up 5% from the same week last year. CBS’ Rachael Ray tied Ellen, flat from the prior week but up 5% from last year. Ellen and Rachael were the only two talkers to show gains over the same week last year.
NBCU’s Maury, CBS’ Montel Williams, NBCU’s Jerry Springer and Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks were all unchanged for the week at a 2.0, 1.5, 1.3 and 1.2, respectively. NBCU’s Martha Stewart slipped 9% to a 1.0.
Twentieth Television’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet remained the leading daytime rookie, unchanged at a 1.1, while NBCU’s Steve Wilkos slipped 10% to a 0.9.
Sticking with daytime, CBS’ Judge Judy was the only court show to grow week-to-week. Judy averaged a 5.3, up 2% from the week before and up 6% from the same week last year, marking the largest year-to-year increase of any first-run show.
In second place, CBS’ Judge Joe Brown was flat at a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court at a 2.4 fell 4%. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis at a 2.1 was down 5%. Twentieth’s Divorce Court, Judge Alex, Cristina’s Court and Sony’s Judge Hatchett were all unchanged, at a 1.9, 1.9, 1.3 and 1.3, respectively. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez lost 11% to a 0.8.
Sony’s rookie court show, Judge David Young, fell 10% to a 0.9, while Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty dropped 33% to a 0.2.
Game shows were mixed. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune, syndication’s top rated show, climbed 4% to a season high 8.6. CBS’ Jeopardy! jumped 1% to a 6.8. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire fell 6% to a 2.9. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 2.0, but still up 5% from last year at this time.
Rookies Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords and Twentieth’s Temptation were unchanged at a 0.8 and 0.5, respectively.
Among the off-network sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained the leader, unchanged at a 5.6. Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 7% to a new season-high 4.9. Sony’s Seinfeld was down 5% to a 4.1. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond was flat at a 4.0. Sony’s King of Queens fell 3% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez dropped 9% to a 3.0. And Warner Bros.’ Friends fell 3% to a 2.8.