Syndication Ratings: Season Openers Provide Fuel

U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, 9/11 memorial services lead to pre-emptions during week ended Sept. 14.

Season premieres boosted ratings for talk and magazine shows in the week ended Sept. 14, even though many syndies were pre-empted by coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament on CBS stations Sept. 8 and almost all daytime shows in New York were pre-empted for coverage of 9/11 memorial services Sept. 11.

Opening its sixth season with an interview with potential first lady Michelle Obama, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres had the largest opening-week ratings increase of the season, up 47% from the prior week to a 2.2 live-plus-same-day national household rating. Ellen had the biggest week-to-week improvement of any show in syndication and the most year-to-year growth of any show in first-run, improving 16% over last year at this time.

Leading the talk shows, CBS’ Oprah was up 25% from the prior week for her season opener, which featured 100 Olympic Games athletes Sept. 8, to a 5.0. CBS’ Dr. Phil -- which was pre-empted in seven of the top 22 markets and three of the top four Sept. 8 due to the Open -- still gained 3% week-to-week to hit a 3.2. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly, which premiered Sept. 1, was up 4% to a 2.6. CBS’ Rachael Ray jumped 13% to a 1.7 after her surprise 40th-birthday show, which featured Rosie O’Donnell, sent ratings up 27% to a 1.9 Sept. 10.

NBC Universal’s Maury was down 12% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks was unchanged at a 1.1. NBCU’s Jerry Springer dropped 18% to a 0.9. Twentieth Television’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet was off 11% to a 0.8, tying NBCU’s Steve Wilkos, which was unchanged. NBCU’s Martha Stewart, which didn’t premiere until Sept. 15, was down 25% to a 0.6.

CBS’ Entertainment Tonight had the largest increase of any magazine, jumping 25% from the prior week to a 4.0. ET got a 34% boost to a 4.3 Sept. 11 for a show featuring a previously unaired interview with a then-eight-months-pregnant Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president.

CBS’ Inside Edition was up 21% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ TMZ was unchanged at a 2.1. NBCU’s Access Hollywood gained 5% to a 2.0. CBS’ The Insider -- which last week parted ways with former host Pat O’Brien -- was up 12% to a 1.9, its highest rating in five weeks. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which just relaunched with Mario Lopez on hosting duties, surged 21% to a 1.7.

In court, CBS’ Judge Judy continued to dominate, growing 2% to a 4.3. CBS’ Judge Joe Brown was up 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis each were unchanged at a 2.3 and 1.8, respectively. Twentieth’s Judge Alex and Divorce Court each were down 6% to a 1.6 and 1.5, respectively. Sony’s Judge David Young and Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty, each entering their sophomore seasons, each were flat at a 0.9 and 0.2.

CBS’ Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! each rose 12% to a 6.6 and 5.5, respectively. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire inched up 4% to a 2.6, while Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 12% to a 1.5.

Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained atop the off-net sitcoms, climbing 2% to a 4.6. Twentieth’s Family Guy fell 5% to a 3.8. Sony’s Seinfeld rose 6% to a 3.4. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez and CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond tied at a 2.8, with Lopez sliding 15% and Raymond falling 13%. Sony’s King of Queens lost 7% to a 2.6, and Warner Bros.’ Friends fell 11% to a 2.5.