Syndication Ratings: Sweeps Good for Talkers

Five Talk Shows Tie Season Highs

Five talkers -- Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres, CBS’ Rachael Ray, NBC Universal’s Maury, WB’s Tyra Banks and NBCU’s Jerry Springer -- tied their season highs in the third full week of the February sweeps, while CBS’ The Oprah Winfrey Show reasserted its dominance at the top of the talk list in the week ending Feb. 24.

Oprah improved 5% to hit a 6.3 live-plus-same-day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS’ Dr. Phil remained a strong second but dipped 2% to a 5.0. Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly dropped 3% to 3.0. Ellen earned 9% to a 2.5, getting help from auto-racing star Danica Patrick, who appeared on the show Feb. 22, shooting the ratings up 17% to a 2.7.

CBS’ Rachael Ray rose 5% to a 2.3, and it was the only talk show to gain on the year, also rising 5%. Ray got an assist from movie star Dennis Quaid, who showed up to lend a hand with Ray’s Oscar-party recipes, lifting the ratings 14% to a 2.5.

Maury moved up 5% to a 2.2. CBS’ Montel Williams, which is going out of production after this season, was the only talker to see a notable drop, falling 12% to a 1.5. Tyra rose 8% to a 1.4, tying Jerry Springer,which was held steady at a 1.4. NBCU’s Martha Stewart was unchanged at a 1.1.

Among the freshman talkers, Twentieth Television’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet remained the highest-rated of the six daytime rookies, although it was flat at a 1.1. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos was right behind, also unchanged at a 1.0.

Magazines were steady, although the rankings shuffled somewhat. CBS’ Entertainment Tonight, the constant leader, dipped 2% to a 4.8. CBS’ Inside Edition, in second place, jumped 3% to a 3.7, tying its season high. NBCU’s Access Hollywood had third place all to itself, hiking up 4% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, the top overall rookie, climbed 4% to a 2.4, passing CBS’ The Insider, which was off 4% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.’ Extra brought up the rear, flat at a 2.0.

CBS’ Judge Judy stayed on top of the court shows by a large margin, dipping just 2% for the week to a 5.2. Judy remained the only court show to be up from last year, increasing 2%. In second place, CBS’ Judge Joe Brown was up 7% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court gained 8% to a 2.7, tying its season high. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis moved up 5% to a 2.3. Twentieth’s Divorce Court also tied its season-high 2.1, gaining 5%. Twentieth’s Judge Alex was flat at a 2.0. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court climbed 8% to a 1.4. Sony’s Judge Hatchett -- which, like Montel, is also going out of original production after this season -- jumped 8% to a 1.4. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez was flat at a 1.0.

The two rookie court shows -- Sony’s Judge David Young and Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty -- each were unchanged at a 1.0 and 0.3, respectively.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was the story among the game shows. The John O’Hurley-hosted show hit a new season high 2.2, up 10% for the week and for the year, making it the only game to hit a new season high and see gains over last year. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune remained the game and syndication leader, gaining 1% to an 8.4. In second place, CBS’ Jeopardy! jumped 3% to a 6.8. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was flat at a 3.1.

Among the rookie games, Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords climbed 13% to a 0.9, while Twentieth’s Temptation dropped 17% to a 0.5.

Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained atop the off-net sitcom pack with a 4% gain to 5.6, matching its season high. Twentieth’s Family Guy fell 2% to a 4.7. Sony’s Seinfeld was flat at a 4.3. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond dipped 2% to a 4.0. Sony’s King of Queensand Warner Bros.’ George Lopez each were flat at a 3.2 and 3.1, respectively, while Warner Bros.’ Friends fell 7% to a 2.8.