The Schwarzenegger-Shriver split was the gift that kept on giving for the syndicated magazines in the week ended May 22, as the former governor of California revealed that he had fathered a child with a household employee 14 years ago.
Ratings for all six of the magazines skyrocketed. CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight, the genre's top-rated and best-cleared magazine, improved 8% to a 4.2 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen Media Research. On May 17, the day after the news broke, the show's ratings improved 15% to a 4.5.
CTD's Inside Edition, in second place, added 7% to a 3.2. Warner Bros.' TMZ tacked on 5% to a 2.2. NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood scored a nine-week high 2.1, jumping 5% in households. CTD's The Insider had its best showing in 13 weeks, improving 12% to a 1.9 for both for the week and year, and notching the largest gain of any magazine strip. Warner Bros.' Extra climbed 6% to a 1.7, its best Nielsen number in four weeks.
In daytime, CTD's Judge Judy remained syndication's top first-run program for the fifth week in a row and syndication's top overall show for the third week in a row, hitting a 7.0 rating. That's a 1% increase from the prior week and the show's best performance since March. Judy also hit a new season high 3.1 among its key demographic of women 25-54.
CTD's Judge Joe Brown, in second place, was the only court show to hit a new season high, gaining 4% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' People's Court grew 6% to a 1.9. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court and Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis all were unchanged at a 1.7, 1.7 and 1.5, respectively. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro, which is leaving syndication after this season, trailed with a 0.8 for the fourth straight week.
Ratings for the next-to-last week of CTD's Oprah were unchanged at a 5.4, although national ratings for the final week of TV's top talker could see that number doubled.
Most other top-tier talkers were higher. In second place, CTD's Dr. Phil hit its highest ratings in 17 weeks, growing 6% to a 3.3. On May 16, Phil aired an episode on bullying and spiked 19% to a 3.7, equaling its best single-day of the season.
Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly also was up, adding 4% to a 2.5. NBCU's Maury advanced 9% to a new-season high 2.4. Sony's Dr. Oz gained 5% to a 2.3, and added 18% among women 25-54 to a 1.3, the most growth of any talker in that key demo. Warner Bros.' Ellen ticked up 5% to a 2.1. CTD's The Doctors, CTD's Rachael Ray and NBCU's Jerry Springer all held steady at a 1.6, 1.5 and 1.4, respectively. NBCU's Steve Wilkos slid 7% to a 1.3, and was the only talker to decline. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was flat at a 1.1.
Among the newcomers, CTD's Swift Justice, which will be without Nancy Grace next year, opened up an even larger lead on the rookie field, with a 12% spike to a 1.9. Sony's Nate Berkus gained 11% to a 1.0. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, which is finishing up its run, was flat at a 0.8, tying Litton's Judge Karen's Court, which improved 14%. Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross improved 33% to a 0.4.
Meanwhile, NBCU's slow roll-out, Access Hollywood Live, currently airing in 14 metered markets, clocked a 0.9 rating/3 share, up 13% from its year-ago time period average, but down 25% from its average 1.2/5 lead-in. Among women 18-49, the show is up 100% compared to year-ago time periods at a 0.6/4, and it's up 75% to a 0.7/5 among women 25-54.
Among the games, CTD's Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! each were flat at a 6.6 and 5.6, respectively. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire was up 9% to a 2.5, while Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud and Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, also departing after this year, each were flat at a 2.4 and 1.1, respectively.
Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men and Twentieth's Family Guy also were both flat, turning in a 6.5 and 4.6, respectively. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids dropped 10% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' George Lopez also declined 10% to a 2.7, tying Sony's Seinfeld, which advanced 4%. NBCU's The Office improved 4% to a 2.6. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond dropped 4% to a 2.5, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which was flat. Warner Bros.' Friends improved 5% to a 2.1.