The NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament took its annual bite out of syndication in the week ending March 22. In addition to preemptions on CBS affiliates, programs also faced stronger than usual competition from the broadcast and cable runs of the numerous early round games.
That said, Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, hosted by Steve Harvey, bucked the trend, inching up 2% to a 6.5, and beating CBS Television Distribution’s long-standing second-ranked Jeopardy! in households for the first time. The two shows have tied once in the past and Family Feud has been the game leader among women 25-54 for months. Jeopardy!, meanwhile, declined 6% to a 6.3. Feud, which was up 23% from last year at this time, also came within a tenth of CTD’s long-standing game leader Wheel of Fortune, which weakened 3% to a 6.6. Both Wheel and Jeopardy! were at a 11-week lows.
Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire climbed 6% to a 1.8, although it was down 18% from last year at this time.
MGM’s video variety show RightThisMinute dipped 7% to a 1.4, matching its season low.
Magazines, which mostly air in access, were mixed. CTD’s leader Entertainment Tonight, which was preempted enough that some days were broken out of its ratings average, edged ahead 3% to a 3.4. CTD’s Inside Edition eroded 7% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was flat at a 2.1. NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood had the largest weekly increase in the category, spiking 6% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.’ Extra held steady at a 1.5. Twentieth’s Dish Nation held at a 1.2 and for the first time ever beat CTD’s The Insider, which did not air in five of the top nine markets on both March 19 and 20 due to basketball, and as a result lost 17% to a new season-low 1.0. At the back of the pack, Trifecta’s OK! TV was unchanged at a 0.2.
In daytime, CTD’s Dr. Phil extended its talk lead, leading the category for the tenth straight week and the 25th time in the past 29 weeks, despite being in mostly reruns. Phil dipped 3% to a 3.0, but improved 11% from last year at this time, the second biggest annual gain of any talker. Among women 25-54, Phil led the pack at a 1.5.
In second place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael eased 3% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres rebounded 8% to a third-place 2.6. NBCU’s Steve Harvey grew 6% to a 1.9, tying NBCU’s Maury, which was flat.
Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams climbed 6% to a 1.7, and jumped 21% from last year at this time, the genre’s biggest annual gain. Among women 25-54, Wendy scored a 1.3, in fifth place behind Dr. Phil at a 1.5 and Live, Ellen and Maury, all of which tied at a 1.4.
SPT’s Dr. Oz saw talk’s largest year-to-year decline, dropping 30% to a 1.4, but added 8% from its prior week’s 1.3, a season low. CTD’s Rachael Ray and NBCU’s Steve Wilkos both rallied 8% to a 1.4 to tie Oz. NBCU’s Jerry Springer remained at a 1.3. CTD’s The Doctors gave back 9% to a 1.0. SPT’s Queen Latifah, whose run is nearly done, was flat at a 0.8. Meredith’s The Better Show, which finishes out its run at the end of this season, also was flat at a 0.1.
Among the first-run rookie strips, CTD’s Hot Bench finished first for the 27th week in a row with a steady 1.6 in households. Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game climbed 8% to a second-place 1.4. NBCU’s Meredith Vieira improved 10% to a 1.1, tying Warner Bros.’ The Real, which was flat. The Real led the rookies among women 25-54 with a 0.9. Trifecta’s Judge Faith added 14% to a 0.8.
CTD’s Judge Judy, syndication's highest court, was in repeats on four of the five days and slipped 10% to a 6.1. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court recovered 13% to a 1.8. Twentieth’s Divorce Court lost 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.3, tying MGM’s Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, which rallied 8%.
Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory heated up 7% to a 6.1. Twentieth’s Modern Family inched up 3% to a 3.9. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men dipped 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ rookie Mike and Molly and Twentieth’s Family Guy each were flat at a 2.3. Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and SPT’s Seinfeld each were stable at a 2.2 and 2.0, respectively. Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show clocked a 12% increase to a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ The Middle remained at a 1.7, while Twentieth’s King of the Hill climbed 7% to a 1.6.