Syndication Ratings: Talk Shows, Game Shows Finish Season Strong

First-Run Strips Gear Up for Sept. 10 Season Premieres

The 2006-07 syndication season came to a close in the week ending Aug. 26, with talk and game shows hitting a high note while most first-run strips prepared for their Sept. 10 season premieres.

In talk, the week’s big winner was NBC Universal’s The Martha Stewart Show, which will also begin running in primetime on Scripps’ Fine Living Sept. 10. The show gained 11% to a 1.0 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s thanks in part to a 1.2 rating after Donny Osmond appeared Aug. 21.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen also had a good showing, jumping 7% to a 1.6. Ellen kicked off her fifth season Tuesday with an appearance by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). That show, which aired from New York, averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in 55 metered markets. That’s up 19% from Ellen’s September 2006 launch, at a 2.1/6, and up 39% from her 1.8/6 average lead-in.

The third-largest gain in talk went to NBC Universal’s Maury, which jumped 5% to a 2.1.

Among the top three, CBS’ Oprah was flat at a 4.4; CBS’ Dr. Phil was down 5% to a 3.5; and Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly dropped 10% to a 2.6 with a week of “repackaged” episodes.

While Oprah doesn’t officially premiere until Monday, Sept. 10, the show gave audiences a fresh episode Tuesday, Sept. 4, hosting former President Bill Clinton, who was promoting his new book, Giving. The episode averaged a 3.9/10 for all runs, up 5% over its 3.7/10 year-ago time period average.

Finally, Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet is building nicely before its national launch Sept. 10. The show averaged a 1.4/5, even with the prior week in its 34 metered markets, and it won its time period for the week in both Kansas City, Mo., and Birmingham, Ala.

Game shows also held their own. CBS’ Wheel of Fortune tacked on 3% to a 6.8. CBS’ Jeopardy! jumped 12% to a 5.7. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire rose 3% to a 3.0. And Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud gained 6% to a 1.8.

The entertainment magazines all were up or flat. CBS’ Entertainment Tonight climbed 2% to a 4.3, thanks to a 17% boost to a 4.9 Aug. 20, when the show aired a report on the death of “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley. CBS’ Inside Edition was up 7% to a 3.2, while NBC U’s Access Hollywood, CBS’ The Insider and Warner Bros.’ Extra! all were unchanged at 2.3, 2.2 and 1.8, respectively.

None of the top court shows showed growth this week. CBS’ Judge Judy, the leader, was flat at a 4.5. CBS’ Judge Joe Brown also was unchanged at a 2.7. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis each fell 4% to a 2.3 and 2.2, respectively. And Twentieth’s Divorce Court and Judge Alex were tied and unchanged at a 1.8 each.