Syndication Ratings: Sweeps Over, Syndies Plunge

Memorial Day Holiday, Stanley Cup Finals Pre-Emptions Also Sink Ratings
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Syndies dropped off steeply in the week ending June 1, as May sweeps came to a close, people took off for the Memorial Day holiday and the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Finals pre-empted several shows.

In addition, there also were numerous pre-emptions in New York, the No. 1 market, for coverage of a deadly crane collapse May 30.

All of talk was flat or down for the week as shows went into repeats and stations ceased their promotional efforts. For the first time, CBS’ Dr. Phil came within one-tenth of a ratings point of the show from which he was spun off, CBS’ Oprah, the longtime talk leader. That marks the closest the two shows have ever been to each other in household ratings. Both programs, in repeats, dropped to new season lows. Oprah plunged 27% from the prior week to a 3.8 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, while Dr. Phil declined 14% to a 3.7.

In third place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly was flat at a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres fell 9% to a 2.1. NBC Universal’s Maury lost 5% to a 1.8. CBS’ Rachael Ray fell 6% to a new season-low 1.6. CBS’ Montel Williams dropped 7% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks and NBCU’s Jerry Springer were each unchanged at a 1.1. NBCU’s Martha Stewart was flat at a 0.9, tying Twentieth Television’s rookie, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, which fell 10%. NBCU newcomer Steve Wilkos dropped 11% to a 0.8.

Court shows, which have held up relatively well all season, still faced downturns in what was a tough week for every genre. CBS’ leader, Judge Judy, slipped 6% to a 4.4. In second place, CBS’ Judge Joe Brown dipped 4% to a 2.4. Both Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis were unchanged at a 2.3 and a 1.9, respectively. Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Judge Alex each fell 6% to a 1.6, with Divorce Court dropping to a new season low. Sony’s Judge Hatchett, now out of original production, jumped 9% to a 1.2. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court fell 8% to a 1.1. Sony’s rookie, Judge David Young, increased 13% to a 0.9. Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez was flat at a 0.8. Radar Entertainment’s Jury Duty dropped 33% to a 0.2 from a 0.3.

The access magazines were also down, with many taking hits due to coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals. The top-rated magazine, CBS’ Entertainment Tonight, was pre-empted in seven of the top 20 markets on one or more days, helping it to drop 10% to a 3.8. CBS’ Inside Edition lost 3% to a 2.8. CBS’ The Insider and Warner Bros.’ rookie, TMZ, each fell 9% to a 2.0. NBCU’s Access Hollywood dropped 10% to a new season-low 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Extra -- which got hit with sports pre-emptions on four of the five days and was completely pre-empted in three of the top seven markets May 28 -- lost 17% to a 1.5.

Staying with that trend, the game shows were also lower. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune dropped 6% to a 6.6. CBS’ Jeopardy! dropped 3% to a 5.8. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire slid 4% to a 2.7. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud fell 6% to a 1.6. Rookies Merv Griffin’sCrosswords and Twentieth’s Temptation were each flat at a 0.8 and 0.5, respectively.

Finally, the off-net sitcoms were down, including the two rookie leaders. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men lost 8% to a 4.8, while Twentieth’s Family Guy dropped 5% to a 4.1. Sony’s Seinfeld lost 13% to a 3.4. CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond dipped another 3% to a new season-low 3.2. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez declined 6% to a 2.9. Sony’s King of Queens and Friends were each flat at a 2.8 and 2.6, respectively.

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