For the week ended Dec. 14, the syndicated ratings standout was The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the only first-run strip to hit a new-season high. Elsewhere in daytime, none of the top five talk or court shows were up, and Dr. Phil dropped to a new-season low.
Ellen, which had been the top-rated rookie in first run for the last five weeks, earned its highest rating yet, up 13% to a 1.8. Ellen also hit new highs in all key female demos, up 38% in women 18-34, 20% in women 18-49, and 18% in women 25-54. Meanwhile, The Sharon Osbourne Show lost 7% to hit a new low of 1.3, though without its regular host. Sharon Osbourne left the show in mid-week to be with husband, Ozzie, who was in a London Hospital after a serious accident. Guest hosts filled in for the remainder of the week.
Among the other newcomers, The Wayne Brady Show had the biggest increase of any syndicated strip, up 22% to a 1.1. Starting Over, renewed last week for year two, tied Brady at a 1.1, up 10%. Living It Up! With Ali & Jack was down 10% to a 0.9.
Oprah led talkers but slipped 7% to a 6.2. Dr. Phil was down 6% to a 5.0; Life with Regis & Kelly was unchanged at a 3.9; Maury was down 3% to a 3.0; and Montel was down 4% to a 2.4.
Among court shows, Judge Judy was down 2% to a 5.2, while Judge Joe Brown was down 11% to a 3.4. Most of the top 10 weekly hours held their ground despite competing against cable news coverage of the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Average viewing of the cable news channels Dec. 14 more than quadrupled, up by 420% or 4.577 million households between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. compared to the week before. Even so, ET weekend was up 16% to lead the weekly hours with a 3.6, followed by West Wing, up 26% to a 2.4. Also showing a double-digit increase was She Spies, up 11% to a 2.0. In fact, the only two shows in the top 10 to decline were Access Hollywood Weekend, down 33% to a 1.8, and Stargate SG1, down 16% to a 2.1.