Syndication Ratings: 'Judge Judy' is Queen of May Sweep for Ninth Straight Year - Broadcasting & Cable
Most shows decline year to year in most recent ratings period

CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy, now in its 22nd season, led all of syndication for the ninth straight May sweep with a 3% jump to a 7.1 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, the show’s second-highest May rating since 2014.

CTD’s Hot Bench grew 5% compared to last May to a 2.3 and ranked as daytime’s third-highest rated show in households behind only Judy and CTD’s top talker, Dr. Phil.

But Judy and Hot Bench were two of only a few syndicated shows with something to brag about in the 2018 May sweeps period, which ran April 26 to May 23.

For example, the rest of the courts fell back compared to last May. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court slipped 6% to a 1.5, while the studio’s Judge Mathis sank 17% to a 1.0. Twentieth’s Divorce Court dropped 10% to a 0.9. Trifecta’s Judge Faith fell 25% to a 0.6.

None of the talkers improved from last May, and only one show held steady: Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, which held firm at a 0.9. The true-crime strip is expected to depart broadcast syndication after this season.

Dr. Phil, which has led the talkers for 90 straight weeks with two ties, led the field for the 20th consecutive major sweep period, although the show dipped 3% year to year to a 3.2. Still, that tied the show’s third-highest May sweep performance since 2008. Among women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.3.

Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan eased 9% to a 2.1, compared to last May when Ryan Seacrest had just been named the show’s co-host, to tie Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, which faded 5%.

NBCU’s Maury slumped 13% to a 1.4. NBCU’s reformatted, relocated and relaunched Steve, hosted by Steve Harvey, posted a 1.2 in its first May sweep in Los Angeles under a new production banner, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which weakened 14%.

NBCU’s conflict talker Jerry Springer slid 15% to a 1.1, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which retreated 8%, and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which also fell 8%. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos tumbled 23% to a 1.0.

NBCU’s cancelled Harry shed 30% to a 0.7, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which suffered a 13% decline and Warner Bros.’ The Real, which also was off 13%.

Among the rookies, CTD’s DailyMailTV posted a 1.0 in households and a 0.5 among women 25-54 in its first May sweep, holding steady with its average performance.

Twentieth’s Page Six TV averaged a 0.7 in households and a 0.4 in the demo in its first May outing.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask averaged a 0.4 and 0.2 among women 25-54. Disney-ABC’s lightly cleared Pickler & Ben, produced by E. W. Scripps, remained at a 0.3 with a 0.1 in the demo in its first May sweep.

The race among the top three game shows tightened but Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, which also stars Steve Harvey, remained the leader after the May sweep, even though it dipped 2% to a 6.2.

CTD’s Jeopardy! perked up 4% to a 5.9, while CTD’s Wheel of Fortune held steady with last May at a 5.8. Further back, Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was unchanged at a 1.6.

Disney-ABC’s RightThisMinute gained 8% to a 1.4, while NBCU’s off-network true-crime strip Dateline delivered a 1.2 in its initial May outing.

CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition tied for the May lead at a 3.0, with ET improving 3% and Inside Edition, which inherited several access slots in large markets from the defunct Insider, spiked 11%.

All of the top-tier magazines were buoyed by Monday recaps of the royal wedding on Saturday, May 19. ET scored an individual day rating of a 3.7 on May 21, up 28% from its May 2017 average.

Warner Bros.’ non-traditional magazine show, TMZ, deteriorated 13% to a 1.3 in the sweep. NBCU’s Access and Warner Bros.’ Extra both eased 8% to a 1.2 and 1.1 in the sweep, but both shows grew 8% to a 1.4 and 1.3, respectively, for their wedding recap telecasts on May 21.

Trifecta’s Celebrity Page fell back 33% to a 0.2 in May.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory cooled off 8% to a 4.4 in its seventh season but remained syndication’s top-rated off-net sitcom. Twentieth’s Modern Family fell 19% in year five to a 2.1 to tie Twentieth’s Last Man Standing, soon to be revived on Fox, which improved 31% in its second year in syndication. SPT’s newcomer The Goldbergs grabbed a 1.5 in its first May sweep, tying Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men, which declined 32% in its 11th season. Twentieth’s Family Guy, which gave back 17% to a 1.5 in its 11th go-round. Twentieth’s Mike & Molly moved down 19% to a 1.3 in year four. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls relinquished 21% to a 1.1 in season three. SPT’s Seinfeld slowed 17% to a 1.0 in the year of its 23rd Festivus, tying Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show, which softened 17% in season five.

Among the rookies, Warner Bros.’ Mom managed a 0.9 in its first May sweep, while CTD’s The Game ended its initial May at a 0.4.

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