March Madness—the annual NCAA basketball tournament—wreaked
havoc on syndication ratings in the week ending March 24, with plenty of pre-emptions
for shows that air on CBS affiliates.
It also was the second week of daylight savings time as well
as spring break in lots of markets, all of which helped steer people away from
their habitual TV viewing. Levels of people using television (PUT) were
actually up for the week, driven by the popular tournament.
All of those factors drove CBS Television Distribution's
typical talk leader, Dr. Phil, into second place for the week, which has
only happened four times this year. Phil, in repeats, dropped 14% from
the prior week to a 2.4 live plus same day household rating average, according
to Nielsen Media Research. That allowed Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and
Michael—which mostly airs on ABC affiliates in the mornings and thus is not
affected by NCAA basketball—to take advantage of the situation, holding steady
at a 2.5 and leading the talkers after eight weeks in a row in second place.
Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz also was steady in
third place at a 2.3, although the show was down 18% from the same week last
year when the show was in first place. That year-to-year decline for Oz
was the largest for any talk show that's returning next year.
NBCUniversal's Maury was one of only three
established talkers to improve from the prior week, along with Warner Bros.' Anderson
Live and Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, two shows that won't return
next fall. Maury grew 5% to a 2.2.
Warner Bros.' Ellen, in reruns, retreated14% to a new
season-low 1.9 in fifth place.
CTD's Rachael Ray and NBCU's Jerry Springer each
were steady at a 1.4. NBCU's Steve Wilkos fell 7% to a 1.3, tying CTD's The
Doctors. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was unchanged at a 1.2.
Warner Bros' Anderson Live advanced 11% to a 1.0, while Debmar-Mercury's
Jeremy Kyle was last at a 0.5, up 25% from the prior week's 0.4.
The top rookie talkers rallied after struggling in recent
weeks. Disney-ABC's Katie was in repeats in four of the week's five
days, but managed to improve 7% to a 1.6. NBCU's Steve Harvey climbed 8%
to a 1.4. CTD's Jeff Probst perked up 17% to a 0.7, while Twentieth's Ricki
Lake and NBCU's Trisha both remained at a 0.6 and 0.5 respectively.
Neither Jeff Probst nor Ricki Lake are returning next season.
Court shows also were in recovery mode after most sunk to
season lows in the prior week. CTD's Judge Joe Brown, which is being
removed from the bench over a contract dispute, jumped 14% to a 2.4, where it
remained solidly in second place. CTD's Judge Judy, the overall court
leader, held steady at a 6.6. Once again, Judy was the only court room
to improve year to year, picking up 2%.
Warner Bros.' People's Court added 13% to a 1.8.
Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis edged up 8% to a 1.4. Twentieth's Judge
Alex and Divorce Court each tacked on 8% to a 1.3. Entertainment
Studios' America's Court jumped 17% to a 0.7, while its freshmen, Justice
for All and We the People, each were flat at a 0.4 and a 0.2,
Entertainment magazines were mostly higher, with coverage of
two high-profile break-ups between Ryan Seacrest and Julianne Hough, and Katy
Perry and John Mayer as well as Lindsay Lohan's latest legal battles.
CTD's leader, Entertainment Tonight, with a three-day
average after breakouts due to March Madness, spiked 12% from the prior week to
a 3.8. NBCU's Access Hollywood gained 6% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra,
despite being pre-empted 39 times, surged 7% to a 1.5. CTD's new omg!
Insider improved 8% to a 1.4, also turning in a three-day average after
CTD's Inside Edition, which is not strictly an
entertainment magazine, was unchanged in second place at a 2.8. Warner Bros.'
TMZ, which also is not a traditional entertainment magazine, dipped 5% to a
1.9 and landed in third place, while Twentieth's newcomer, Dish Nation, trailed at a 1.0, down 9% from the
Game shows were a mixed bag, with CTD's leader Wheel of
Fortune reversing three straight weeks of declines to rise 9% to a 7.3.
CTD's Jeopardy!, conversely, lost 3% to a 6.0. Debmar-Mercury's Family
Feud picked up 2% to a 4.9. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire
got a 9% dividend, finishing at a 2.4, while NBCU's rookie, Baggage, was
8% lighter at a 1.1.
In off-net syndication, Warner Bros.' The Big
Bang Theory strengthened 7% from the prior week to a 7.4 and continued to
top all of syndication. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men dipped 2% to a
4.8. Twentieth's Family Guy eased 3% to a 3.4. Twentieth's How I Met
Your Mother was flat at a 2.6. Twentieth's King of the Hill climbed
4% to a 2.4. SPT's Seinfeld slid 4% to a 2.2, tying Warner Bros.' Friends,
which added 5% to a 2.2. SPT's Everybody Loves Raymond receded 5% to a