The usually steadfast game shows were shaken up in the week ending April 24.
CBS Television Distribution's Judge Judy - the judge of which, Judy Sheindlin, just reupped through 2015 -- usurped CTD's Wheel of Fortune's position as the top-rated show in syndication. Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud overtook Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire - hosted by Today's outgoing Meredith Vieira -- for third place.
Judge Judy's star has been on the rise recently, with a big assist from Nielsen's new ratings methology which incorporates all of a TV show's runs into one rating. Judy grew 2% from the prior week to hit a 6.7, while Wheel dipped 4% to a 6.5. Family Feud, which has been on the move since Steve Harvey became host at the beginning of this season, jumped 4% to a 2.4. Millionaire declined 4% to a 2.3.
Following Wheel, CTD's Jeopardy! softened 3% to a 5.7. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, in last place among the veteran games and ending its run after this season, added 10% to a 1.1
In daytime, the rest of court was either up or flat. Perennial second-place finisher, CTD's Judge Joe Brown, was steady at a 2.6. Likewise, Warner Bros.' People's Court was flat at a 1.8, while Judge Mathis improved 7% to a 1.6. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court each were up 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro was last at a flat 0.9.
Heading into its final May sweep, which runs April 28 through May 25, CTD's Oprah slipped 2% to a 4.6. Elsewhere in talk, CTD's second-place Dr. Phil had the genre's largest increase, gaining 8% in households to a 2.8, the show's best rating in seven weeks. Phil's April 19 show on out of control kids bumped ratings by 23% from the prior week to a 3.2.
Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly was unchanged at a 2.5. NBCUniversal's Maury added 5% to a 2.3. Sony's Dr. Oz also tacked on 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Ellen was flat at a 2.0. CTD's Rachael Ray rose 7% to a 1.5, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which also was up 7%, and CTD's The Doctors, which declined 6%. NBCU's Steve Wilkos and Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams each were unchanged at 1.3 and 1.1, respectively.
Magazines were steady performers with every show duplicating its prior week's delivery. CTD's Entertainment Tonight led the genre with a 3.7, followed by CTD's Inside Edition at a 2.9, Warner Bros.' TMZ at a 2.1, NBCU's Access Hollywood at a 1.9, CTD's The Insider at a 1.6 and Warner Bros.' Extra at a 1.5.
CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace continued to lead the first-run rookies despite dropping 6% to a 1.6. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, which will end its run after this season, took over second place, gaining 11% to a 1.0. That pushed Sony's Nate Berkus to third place and its season-low 0.9. Litton's Judge Karen's Court was just behind Berkus at an unchanged 0.8, followed by Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross at a flat 0.4.
Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men and Twentieth's Family Guy each were flat at a 7.0 and 4.4, respectively. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids gained 7% to a 3.2. Warner Bros.' George Lopez fell 3% to a 2.8. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond increased 4% to a 2.7. Sony's Seinfeld fell 11% to a 2.5. NBCU's The Office was down 4% to a 2.4, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Friends faded 5% to a 2.0.
Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother led the new off-net and off-cable strips at an unchanged 3.0. Warner Bros.' TheNew Adventures of Old Christine jumped 13% to a new season high 1.7. Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns climbed 8% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.' off-HBO Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm were flat at a 0.7 and 0.6, respectively, while NBC's off-Bravo Real Housewives gained 20% and a tenth of a ratings point to 0.6.