Syndie Bounces Back


Finally, a week without any holidays or major news or sports preemptions—and virtually all of the syndicated strips rebounded with the exception of Access Hollywood.

During the week ended July 17, strips gained in the Nielsen national barter rankings or held their ground, but the NBC Universal entertainment newsmagazine slipped a bit. It earned a 2.1 rating, down 5% from the previous week and 13% from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Jeopardy continued to feel the impact created a year ago when contestant Ken Jennings started his winning streak and the King World game show was No. 1 in syndication with a 10.2 rating.

This week, it was down 37% from those lofty heights to a 6.4, which was still a 7% improvement from the 6.0 the previous week.

Companion Wheel of Fortune (7.7), which leads the syndicated pack in all but the rarest of circumstances, had benefited in summer 2004 from the tandem halo effect of Jeopardy.

It earned an 8.6 rating during that year-ago week, 10% above its performance this year. Nonetheless, it still jumped 10% this week from its 7.0 in the previous measurement period.

Thanks to Jennings and the subsequent Tournament of Champions, to which he returned, Jeopardy is achieving its highest premiere-to-date average since 2001-02. It had a 7.5 this past season, up from a 7.3 and 7.1, respectively, the previous two seasons.

In other genres, court has remained solid this summer, with Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown garnering their best ratings in weeks.

Judy scored with a 4.8 rating, its highest in six weeks, and up 4% for the week and 9% for the year; Joe Brown collected a 3.3, its highest mark in eight weeks, up 6% from the previous week and even with a year ago.

The only court show to fall year-to-year was Judge Hatchett at a 1.8, the lowest of all shows in the genre. It was down 10% from a 2.0 in 2004, but up 6% from the prior week’s 1.7.

In talk, Oprah, with four days of reruns, climbed 11% to a 6.1 from the previous week, while falling 3% from a year ago. Dr. Phil, also with four reruns, scored with a 4.5, up 2% for the week and a hefty 18% from a year ago. It has seen its premiere-to-date average rise from a 4.7 in its debut year of 2002-03 to 5.3 this season.

And Ellen DeGeneres continued its winning ways, leaping 20% from a year ago while remaining even with the previous week at 1.8.