Syndication Ratings: Obama Lifts ‘Oprah’

Other top talkers also gain during Inauguration Week

The inauguration of President Barack Obama, who Oprah Winfrey encouraged to run for office, helped spike the ratings of Winfrey’s leading talk show in the week ended Jan. 25.

CBS Television Distribution’s Oprah, which had dropped 15% the prior week, regained 11% to a 5.2 live plus same day national household rating for the week, according to Nielsen Media Research. Oprah’s two inauguration-centric episodes on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 19, and on Wednesday, Jan. 21, drove the show’s performance.

Monday’s episode, featuring Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, was the second highest rated of the show’s season at a 6.8. Wednesday’s post-Inauguration episode, also shot from Washington, D.C., scored a 5.4. (On Tuesday, Inauguration Day, the show aired a repeat on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, although the show was preempted in most markets for inauguration coverage.)

Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, in fourth place among talkers, climbed 9% to a 2.5 for the week. The show earned a 39% spike on MLK Day to a 3.2, which tied the show’s second highest rating in its six-year history. Much like Rosie O’Donnell lobbied to get Tom Cruise to come on her show back in her day, DeGeneres has been running a campaign to get movie star George Clooney to make an appearance. Clooney finally appeared that Monday, sending the show’s ratings skyrocketing.

NBC U’s Maury, in fifth, improved 5% to a 2.0. CTD’s Rachael Ray matched its season high 1.9, gaining 6% after getting a boost from its Inauguration Day celebration with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. That sent ratings up 17% to a 2.1 on Jan. 19. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks was up 9% to a 1.2, matching its season high and tying NBC U’s Jerry Springer, which was flat and NBC U’s Steve Wilkos, which climbed 9% to a new season high.
Meanwhile, CTD’s Dr. Phil, in second place, slid 6% to a 3.3. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly, in third, dropped 7% to a 2.8. Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet declined 10% to a 0.9, while NBC’s Martha Stewart was flat at a 0.8.

The top two rookies ended up tied. NBC Universal’s Deal or No Deal slipped 5% to a 1.9, tying CTD’s The Doctors, which held steady at its season high.

The Doctors is on a bit of a roll, winning its time slot in number-one market WCBS New York on Friday, Jan. 30, and Monday, Feb. 2. That’s the first time the show has beat incumbent champion, Regis and Kelly, since its September premiere. On Friday, The Doctors hit a 2.5 rating/9 share, compared to Regis and Kelly’s 2.3/8, and was up 92% from the CBS Morning News and 127% from its year-ago time period, which was comprised of repeats of CTD’s Entertainment Tonight and The Insider.

On Monday, The Doctors made it two days in a row, averaging a 3.2/11, up 100% from its lead-in and 191% from its year-ago time period average. Regis and Kelly was second at a 3.1/10.

Sony’s Judge Karen was third at an unchanged 1.0, while Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt dropped to fourth place, losing 10% to a 0.9. Debmar-Mercury’s Trivial Pursuit: America Plays declined 17% to a 0.7. Program Partners’ Family Court with Judge Penny also dropped 17% to a 0.5.

Litton Entertainment’s off-Weather Channel Storm Stories, renewed for season two, lost 28% to a 1.3. Disney-ABC’s weekly action hour, Legend of the Seeker, also coming back for a second season, was up 6% to a 1.9. Debmar-Mercury’s off-TBS sitcom, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, declined 4% to a 2.3.
Only one magazine climbed from the prior week: The Insider hit a new season high, moving up 5% to a 2.1 after getting a 10% increase to a 2.2 for its inauguration coverage on both Jan. 19 and 21. The other magazines all faced minor losses. CTD’s leader, Entertainment Tonight dipped 2% to a 4.7. CTD’s Inside Edition fell 3% to a 3.2. NBC Universal’s

Access Hollywood and Warner Bros.’ TMZ each were down 4% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which faced extra preemptions on MLK day, dropped 5% to a 1.8.

CTD’s Judge Judy, the longtime court leader, was the lone gaveler to gain, moving up 2% to a 4.6. CTD’s Judge Joe Brown; Warner Bros.’ People’s Court; Twentieth’s Judge Alex,Divorce Court, and Cristina’s Court and Sony’s Judge David Young all were flat at a 2.4, 2.2, 1.7, 1.5, 1.1 and 0.8, respectively. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis slipped 6% to a 1.7.

None of the game shows improved. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune led, as usual, but dipped 4% to a 7.4. CTD’s Jeopardy! was flat at a 6.3. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire tied its season-low 2.4, losing 8%. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 1.5.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men dropped 4% to a 5.4. Twentieth’s Family Guy was unchanged at a 4.3. Sony’s Seinfeld was third at a 3.7, after having been reprocessed by Nielsen in the prior week. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond was up 3% to a new season high 3.5. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez added 3% to a 3.1. Sony’s King of Queens dipped 4% to a 2.7, tying Warner Bros.’ Friends, which was flat. Twentieth’s King of the Hill also was unchanged at a 2.6.