Syndication Ratings: 'Phil' Stays on Top, But 'Ellen' Ties Best Rating in Ten Years

Many syndies preempted on Dec. 14 for coverage of Newtown school shootings
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News coverage of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 caused Nielsen to break out ratings for many daytime and access strips that Friday. Even though four-day averages were the norm, syndies -- and especially talk shows and magazines -- held up in the week ended Dec. 16.

CBS Television Distribution's Dr. Phil remained syndication's top talker, improving 3% from both the prior week and year to a 3.1 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Warner Bros.' Ellen took second for the fifth week in a row at a 2.9, tying the show's highest rating in its ten-year history, up 4% for the week. Ellen also notched the largest year-to-year gain of any talk show, climbing 12% from the same week last year.

In third place, Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael rose 4% for the week to a 2.6. Sony's Dr. Oz came in fourth at a steady 2.4. NBCUniversal's Maury also was flat at a 2.2. CTD's Rachael Ray remained at a 1.4, tying NBC's conflict talkers Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer, each of which grew 8%.

CTD's The Doctors also advanced 8% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.' Anderson Live showed some spark, hitting a new season-high 1.2, and surging 20% for the week. Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams was flat at a 1.1, while Jeremy Kyle added a tenth or 20% to a 0.6. Jeremy Kyle, like Anderson Live!, will end its run after this season.

Among the rookie talkers, Disney-ABC's Katie was steady for the week at a 1.8. NBCU's Steve Harvey improved 8% to a 1.4, even though it was partially in repeats. CTD's Jeff Probst was flat at a 0.7, while Twentieth's Ricki Lake dropped 14% to a new series-low 0.6, the only talk show out of 17 to decline for the week. NBCU's Trisha, meanwhile, grew 25% to a 0.5, up one-tenth of a ratings point.

Elsewhere in daytime, CTD's Judge Judy climbed 4% for the week to a 7.0. CTD's Judge Joe Brown eased 4% to a second-place 2.3. Warner Bros.' People's Court and Judge Mathis both were flat at a 1.8 and 1.5, respectively. Twentieth's Divorce Court gained 17% to a 1.4, while Judge Alex was flat at a 1.3. Entertainment Studios' America's Court advanced 14% to a 0.8, while ES' freshman, Justice for All, and sophomore, We the People, both were flat at a 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

In access, CTD's Entertainment Tonight led the magazines with a 3.9, up 3% from the prior week and 5% from last year at this time. CTD's Inside Edition posted a 3.3, up 6%. NBCU's Access Hollywood matched its season high, adding 6% to a 1.9, tying Warner Bros.' TMZ, which also gained 6%. Warner Bros.' Extra had the largest percentage increase of any veteran magazine, improving 7% to a 1.6 and equaling its best rating of the season. CTD's The Insider, about to be rebranded as omg! Insider, held firm at a 1.5, while Twentieth's newcomer, Dish Nation, picked up 11% to a 1.0.

CTD's veteran game show, Wheel of Fortune, accelerated 3% from the prior week, to top the syndie charts at a 7.4. CTD's Jeopardy! upticked 2% to a 6.6. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was flat at a 4.6, while Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire declined 4% to a 2.3. NBCU's rookie, Baggage, gained 9% to a 1.2.

Top off-net sitcom, Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory, was flat for the week at a 7.3, but still good enough for second place in overall syndication. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men edged up 4% to a 5.4. Twentieth's Family Guy gained 3% to a 3.8. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother and Sony's Seinfeld both were steady at a 2.8 and 2.4, respectively. Twentieth's King of the Hill climbed 5% to a new season-high 2.3. Warner Bros.' Friends was flat at a 2.1, and CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond rose 5% to a 2.0.