Syndie Ratings Suffer Spring Slide


Please, let the sun go down on me.

That could have been the lament of syndicators, who watched ratings fall back as their viewers sprung forward.

The first week of daylight savings time combined with the NCAA basketball final to send viewing levels for access and early fringe syndicated shows plummeting during the week ending April 10, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings used by advertisers.

HUT (households using television) levels dropped 2.829 million homes from the previous week, a 7% decline that is typical when clocks spring ahead. Traditionally, those same viewers return when clocks fall back.

The college hoops tourney championship game April 4 also proved to be a ratings drag, especially for afternoon and early evening shows.

Among the top off-net sitcoms, Everyone Loves Raymond and Friends both hit season lows. Raymond was down 13% from the prior week to a 5.9, but jumped 18% from the year-ago week thanks to its access run this season on TBS.  Friends (4.9) dipped 6% week to week and 9% year to year. Seinfeld was down 2% compared to the prior week and year, landing at a 5.5.

Game and magazine shows also suffered, as did daytime shows, but the decline was not as dramatic for them. 

Daytime queen Oprah Winfrey took the biggest hit, with her show in reruns two of the days and coming off the previous week’s highly rated double whammy of Lisa Marie Presley alone and with her mom, Priscilla, the following day--dropping 12% to a 6.4. Nevertheless, it was up by double digits year to year.