Several syndies hit season highs as February sweeps got underway, although top talker Oprah fell back to earth in the week ending Feb. 6.
CBS Television Distribution's Oprah declined 16% to a 5.4 live plus same day household average after hitting a three-year high in the prior frame with an episode in which the queen of talk revealed her secret half-sister. That rating is still good enough to keep Oprah at the top of the daytime charts, however.
Meanwhile, three talkers - Live with Regis and Kelly, The Doctors and Rachael Ray -- all hit season highs.
CTD's number-two talk show, Dr. Phil tied his season high and improved 26% to a 3.4 among households and also turned in strong performances across all three key female demographics. Live spiked 11% for the week and 11% for the year to a 3.1, the show's best rating since December 2008.
In fourth place, Warner Bros.' Ellen advanced 8% to a 2.7, tying Sony's Dr. Oz, which grew 4%. CTD's The Doctors jumped 17% to its new season high 2.1, The Doctors' best showing in 56 weeks. That tied NBC Universal's Maury, which fell 5% to a 2.1. CTD's Rachael Ray rallied 18% to its new season high 2.0, the show's strongest rating since Valentine's Day 2010. NBCU's Steve Wilkos climbed 7% to a 1.5, while the distributor's Jerry Springer slipped 7% to a 1.4. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams gained 9% to a 1.2.
CTD's Judge Judy presided over the court shows, gaining 7% from the prior week to a 4.9. CTD's Judge Joe Brown jumped 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' People's Court gained 11% to a new season high 2.1. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis improved 6% to a 1.8. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court were in lockstep, each gaining up 7% to a 1.5, which is a new season high for Divorce Court. Warner Bros.' Judge Jeanine Pirro added 10% to a 1.1.
Among the closely watched rookie first-runs, CTD's Swift Justice with Nancy Grace hit its highest-rated week ever, ratcheting up 15% to a 1.5. In second place, Sony's Nate Berkus improved 20% to hit a new series high 1.2. Twentieth's Don't Forget the Lyrics, Litton's Judge Karen's Court and Entertainment Studios' America's Court with Judge Ross all were unchanged at a 0.9, 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.
NBCU's newcomer, Access Hollywood Live, which airs in 13 markets in a slow rollout, scored a 1.1 rating/4 share average in those metered markets, up 10% over its February 2010 time period average for the first full week of the February sweep.
In access, CTD's Entertainment Tonight remained the top magazine, ramping up 7% from the prior week to a 4.4 in households and growing 17% among women 25-54 to a 2.4. CTD's Inside Edition tacked on 9% to a new season high 3.5. Warner Bros.' TMZ and NBCU's Access Hollywood both held firm at a 2.1 and 2.0, respectively. CTD's The Insider climbed 6% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Extra was steady at a 1.7, while its weekend version improved 38% for the week and the year to a 1.1.
CTD's Wheel of Fortune remained syndication's top-rated show, hitting a new season high 8.4, up 5% from the prior week. CTD's Jeopardy! ahead 6% to also hit a new season high 6.8, and is expecting big ratings for this week's episodes featuring IBM's Jeopardy!-playing computer, Watson. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire inched up 4% to a new season high 2.5. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was flat at a 1.9. Twentieth's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader declined 9% to a 1.0.
Among the off-net and off-cable strips, Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother was down 4% from the prior session to 2.6, while everything else was flat. Warner Bros.' New Adventures of Old Christine, Debmar-Mercury's Meet the Browns, Warner Bros.' Entourage, NBCU's off-Bravo Real Housewives and Warner Bros.' Curb Your Enthusiasm all were steady at 1.3, 1.2, .7, .6 and .6, respectively.
Finally, off-net sitcoms were mixed. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men upticked 3% to a new season high 6.4. Twentieth's Family Guy fell 11% to a 4.1. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond lost 3% to a 2.9. Disney-ABC's My Wife and Kids was unchanged at 2.9. Sony's Seinfeld slipped 4% to a 2.7. NBCU's The Office weakened 8% to a 2.4. Twentieth's King of the Hill added 5% to a 2.2. Warner Bros.' George Lopez tumbled 13% to a new season low 2.1, while Warner Bros.' Friends climbed 5% to a 2.0.