Syndication Ratings: Olympics Chill Syndies

Six of nine talk shows see double digit decreases

The first week of the Vancouver Winter Olympics threw cold
water all over the syndication ratings in the week ending Feb. 21.  While some shows were heavily preempted, many
others had the misfortune of competing with the games.  Making matters worse in what was the second
full week of the February sweep, PUT levels were down by more than 1.8 million
viewers from the week before.

Talk shows were especially hard hit, with two strips getting
completely knocked out of the ratings due to massive preemptions and six of the
remaining nine established gabfests down by double digits.  Leader CTD's Oprah declined for a second week, tumbling 15% from the previous
session to a 4.6 and being elbowed aside in the daytime standings by CTD's Judge Judy.  Judy has now been the no.1 daytime show in
first-run 10 times in the last 13 weeks. 
CTD's Dr. Phil was down 13% to
2.8.  Disney/ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly also lost 13% to 2.6.  Warner Bros.' Ellen Degeneres, after getting a big boost from her first
appearance as an American Idol judge
in the prior frame, hit a sour note and plummeted 21% to 2.3.  NBCU's Maury,
Jerry Springer
and Steve Wilkos
were all flat at 2.2, 1.4 and 1.3, respectively.  CTD's The
were down 15% to 1.7.  NBCU's
Martha Stewart trailed the field,
sinking 14% to a paltry 0.6.  Ratings for
both CTD's Rachael Ray and Warner
Bros.' Bonnie Hunt were broken out by
the Olympics for the entire week.

Court shows were also chilled by the Winter games with every
show losing grown but to a lesser extent than the talkers.  CTD's Judge
slipped 6% to 4.7, though it ranked first among all syndicated shows
in the GAA ratings with a 7.3.  CTD's Judge Joe Brown fell 8% to 2.2.  Warner Bros.' People's Court slid 9% to 2.1. 
Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis was
down 6% to 1.7.  Twentieth's Judge Alex faded 6% to 1.5.  Twentieth's Divorce Court
eroded 7% to 1.4.  Warner Bros.' Judge Jeannine Pirro was off 8% to

In rookie action, freshman off-net champion NBCU's The Office dipped 3% to 3.1.  First-run leader Sony's Dr. Oz took a sickening 25% plunge down to 2.4.  Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader was demoted 12% to 1.5.  Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams fell 8% to 1.1. 
Litton's Street Court sank 14%
to 0.6. 

Among magazines, NBCU's Access
, which aired right before the games on NBC stations in the
largest markets, may have benefitted from Olympic viewers tuning in early.  Its ratings jumped 14% week-to-week and 20%
year-to-year to 2.4.  The other newsmags
were all down by double digits.  Leader
CTD's ET was hit with a 12% drop to
4.4.  CTD's Inside Edition dropped 11% to 3.2. 
Warner Bros.' TMZ declined 13%
to 2.0.  CTD's The Insider and Warner Bros.' Extra
each eased 10% to 1.8.

Game shows were topped by CTD's Wheel of Fortune, which skidded 3% to 7.2.  CTD's Jeopardy
was also down 3% to 6.2.  Disney/ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was flat
at 2.7.  Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud faltered 13% to 1.3.  NBCU's Deal
Or No Deal
was broken out of the ratings all week.

Off-net sitcoms had relatively minor losses.  Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men gave back 4% to 5.5.  Twentieth's Family Guy was down 3% to 3.5. 
Warner Bros.' George Lopez
downticked 3% to 2.8.  Sony's Seinfeld slid 7% to 2.7.  CTD's Everybody
Loves Raymond
declined 4% to 2.7. 
Twentieth's King of the Hill
was unchanged at 2.4.  Warner Bros.' Friends fell 5% to 2.1.  Sony's King
of Queens
was down 6% to 1.6, tying House
of Payne
, which was flat.