Oprah Winfrey's final show reached 16.4 million viewers
and hit an 11.5 live plus same day household ratings, according to Nielsen
Media Research, making the episode Oprah's most-watched in more than 18
years and its highest-rated single-day episode in more than 16 years.
Oprah's final three episodes, which aired on
Monday, May 23, Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25, averaged a 9.8 household
rating and 13.9 million total viewers, according to the show's distributor, CBS
Television Distribution (CTD).
In the May sweep, which just concluded, Oprah
closed out its run at a 5.7, good enough for fourth place among all syndicated
strips, behind CTD's Judge Judy, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men
and CTD's Wheel of Fortune. Nielsen broke out Oprah's final episode as a special for advertising sales purposes, so those ratings were not included in the final sweep average.
CTD's Dr. Phil was a strong second among talk
shows, improving 11% to a 3.1, the show's best May sweep since 2008.
Disney-ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly slipped 4% to a 2.4. NBCU's Maury
added 10% to a 2.3. Sony's Dr. Oz weakened 8% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' Ellen
eroded 17% to a 2.0, notching the biggest year-to-year decline of any talk
show. CTD's The Doctors eased 6% to a 1.6. CTD's Rachael Ray and
NBCU's Jerry Springer each were flat at a 1.5 and 1.4, respectively.
NBCU's Steve Wilkos softened 7% to a 1.3. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy
Williams declined 15% to a 1.1.
CTD's Judge Judy was the sweep's big winner,
soaring 49% from May 2010 to a 6.7. That's Judy's strongest May
performance since 1999. Judy also was syndication's top strip. In April,
Nielsen inaugurated a significant change in the way it measures ratings,
including viewing of all runs in every show's ratings average. That change
markedly increased Judge Judy's ratings, which airs in double runs in
strong time periods in almost every market.
Among other court shows, CTD's Judge Joe Brown
jumped 29% from last May to a 2.7. Warner Bros.' People's Court declined
10% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Judge Alex gained 21% to a 1.7. Twentieth's Divorce
Court added 14% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis sank 12% to a
1.5. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro, which will not be returning
after this season, dropped 27% to a last place 0.8.
CTD's Entertainment Tonight was the top magazine
for the 83rd sweep in a row, or more than 20 years, scoring a 4.0 and holding
steady versus last year. In second place, CTD's Inside Edition improved
3% from last year to a 3.0. Warner Bros.' TMZ added 5% to a 2.1. NBCU's Access
Hollywood scored strong performances in the nation's top two markets,
leaping 29% from last May in New York and 38% in Los Angeles. Nationally, Access
Hollywood increased 5% to a 2.0. CTD's The Insider had its best May
sweep since 2008, growing 6% to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Extra, which again
was preempted in several markets due to breaking news, held steady year to year
at a 1.7.
Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was the biggest
gainer by far among game shows, surging 53% to a 2.3. CTD's game leader, Wheel
of Fortune, inched up 3% to a 6.5. CTD's Jeopardy! was unchanged at
a 5.5. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire climbed 9% to a 2.4,
while Twentieth's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, which has wrapped
its original run, fell 15% to a 1.1.
Among the first-run rookies, CTD's Swift Justice
improved 21% from its September premiere to a 1.7. Sony's Nate Berkus
faded 10% from its September debut to a 0.9. Twentieth's Don't Forget the
Lyrics, also finishing up its run, lost 11% to a 0.8, tying Litton's Judge
Karen's Court, which has gained 33% since September to a 0.8. Entertainment
Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross fell 25% since September to a
In 14 metered markets, NBCU's slow roll-out Access
Hollywood Live improved 25% from its year-ago time periods to a 1.0
rating/4 share for the sweep. Versus lead-in, Access Hollywood Live
declined 17%, although the shows that it replaced declined 43% versus their
lead-ins, which is often the fourth hour of NBC's Today Show.
Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men remained the
off-net sitcom leader with a 41% increase from last May to a 6.5. Twentieth's Family
Guy also was up 41% to a 4.5. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids improved
23% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.' George Lopez gained 4% to a 2.8. Sony's Seinfeld
slipped 4% to a 2.6. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond receded 14% to a
2.5, tying NBCU's The Office, which was downsized 11% to a 2.5.
Twentieth's King of the Hill was flat at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' Friends
lost 5% to a 2.0.
Finally, among the new off-net and off-cable strips,
Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother spiked 33% from its September premiere
to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' The New Adventures of Old Christine picked up 8%
to a 1.4, while Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns retreated 8% to a 1.2.
Other new off-net and off-cable strips -- Warner Bros.' Curb Your Enthusiasm
and Entourage and NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives -- all are
leaving syndication after this season.