Almost every syndicated strip showed year-to-year growth in the February sweep, which came to an end Wednesday, Feb. 29.
CTD's Dr. Phil won its first sweep ever, while Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory and Anderson both showed strong progress since their September debuts. CTD's Judge Judy tied the distributor's Wheel of Fortune to top February's syndicated charts, and all the magazines were up year-to-year on coverage of the Oscars, Grammy's and the sudden death of pop diva Whitney Houston.
In the first sweep without Regis and the second without Oprah, CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil took its first sweep of the show's entire ten-year run, improving 10% over last February to a 3.4 live plus same day household ratings average.
In second place, Sony's Dr. Oz, which benefited more than any other talk show by upgrades into Oprah time slots, blossomed 25% over last year to a 3.0.
In its first sweep without Regis, Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly held steady year to year at a third-place 2.8. Live! won the November sweep, which featured Regis Philbin's farewell tour after almost 30 years with the show.
In fourth place, Warner Bros.' Ellen added 8% to a 2.6, tying NBCUniversal's Maury gaining 24% over last year at this time. CTD's The Doctors and Rachael Ray were the only talkers to lose ground, with The Doctors dropping11% to a 1.7 and Rachael Ray losing 6% to a 1.6. NBCU's Jerry Springer perked up 7% to a 1.5, while Steve Wilkos was flat at a 1.4. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams added 9% to a 1.2, and Sony's Nate Berkus climbed 10% in its final February sweep.
NBCU's slow roll-out Access Hollywood Live, currently cleared in 17 metered markets, added 11% in households from last February to a 1.0 rating/4 share and 20% among women 18-49 and 33% among women 25-54.
Warner Bros.' rookie talker, Anderson, climbed 36% from its September debut to hit a 1.5. At a distant second, Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle added 40% from its premiere week to a 0.7. Entertainment Studios' We the People gained 25% from September to a 0.5.
Excused, CTD's late-fringe dating series, climbed 17% from its debut to a 0.7.
On the strength of both award-show coverage and of Houston's untimely death, CTD's Entertainment Tonight took its 86th sweep in a row, dating back to 1990, with a 4.2 average, up 2% from last February. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition added 3% to a 3.3. NBCU's Access Hollywood showed the most year-to-year growth of any magazine, adding 10% to a 2.2, and tying Warner Bros.' TMZ, which picked up 5%. CTD's The Insider advanced 6% from last year to a 1.9, while Warner Bros.' Extra added 6% to a 1.8.
CTD's Judge Judy, along with most of the court shows, strengthened in February. Judy improved 63% from last year to a 7.5 household average, tying CTD's Wheel of Fortune as syndication's top-rated show.
CTD's Judge Joe Brown rocketed 50% from last February to a 3.0. Warner Bros.' People's Court gained 21% to a 2.3. Twentieth's Judge Alex added 46% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was flat at a 1.7. Twentieth's Divorce Court settled for a 15% increase to a 1.5. CTD's Swift Justice was steady at a 1.4, while Entertainment Studios' America's Court, with much better clearances now than it had last year, expanded 233% to a 1.0.
Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune slid 4% from last year to a 7.5, still good enough to top the syndie charts. CTD's Jeopardy! also dropped, falling 6% to a 6.3. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud added 88% to a 3.2. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire improved 17% to a 2.7.
Warner Bros.' rookie The Big Bang Theory exploded 64% from September to a 7.4, beating Warner's veteran Two and a Half Men, which gained 5% from last February to a 6.3. Twentieth's Family Guy grew 13% from last year to a 2.5. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother improved 28% to a 3.2. Sony's Seinfeld, in its 17th season, advanced 4% to a 2.7. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond retreated 11% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Friends finished 16% ahead of last year at a 2.2, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which added 5%.
Among the rest of the rookie off-nets, NBCU's 30 Rock was even with its September debut at a 1.4 in late fringe. Twentieth's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Sony's ‘Til Death each also were flat from September at a 1.2 and a 0.6.