Talk is Tops in Syndication


Talk was no turkey in the week ended Nov. 27—encompassing the Thanksgiving holiday and third full week of sweeps—in the Nielsen national syndication rankings.

With most barter shows relying on only Monday-Wednesday ratings averages, King World’s Oprah Winfrey Show reigned supreme with a new season-high household rating of 9.0. It was the top-rated show in syndication for the week.

The show was up 8% for the week and 27% for the year on the strength of “Oprah’s Favorite Things 2005,” her 20th-anniversary follow-up show and—her highest-rated episode of the week—a holiday appearance featuring Food Network’s Rachael Ray, who will have her own King World syndicated lifestyle series in 2006.

In the number three position, Buena Vista Television’s Live With Regis & Kelly earned a 3.8, with the season-high mark providing it a 3% gain for the week and 9% advantage from a year ago.

Other season highs: NBC Universal’s Maury (a four-day average of 3.1, up 11% for the week and 3% for the year), Telepictures’ Ellen (2.6, matching her best score ever, an increase of 8% for the week and 18% for the year), Paramount’s Montel (2.3, climbing 10% over the four-day average for the week but down 4% for the year) and NBCU’s Starting Over (a four-day 1.2, up 20% from last week and flat year-to-year).

Of the major talk shows, only King World’s Dr. Phil (5.3) fell, dropping 5% on the week and 10% from the previous year.

Of the three shows in the freshman class, all relying on four-day averages, Twentieth TV’s Judge Alex continued to lead with a new series high, up 4% for the week to 2.4 and tied with Telepictures’ Tyra in women 25-54 (both at 1.3).

Tyra rose 12% for the week to a new series household-ratings high of 1.9 (still leading the freshman class by wide margins in younger demos), with her best performance coming Nov. 21 when she announced to 3.5 million viewers that she was retiring from modeling. The show tied NBCU’s Martha (up 6% and approaching the 2.0 rating it started with this fall) for the second time this season.

Most entertainment magazines also continued to perform well, with Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight holding steady at a season-high of 5.5 for the third straight week, up 2% from the corresponding week a year ago.

Paramount’s companion The Insider remained at a season-high of 3.0 for the second week, a rise of 3% from last year.

With an unusual five-day average of 2.5, NBCU’s Access Hollywood dropped 4% for the week while increasing 9% year-to-year.

Warner Bros.’ Extra also went the five-day route, with the show down 12% for the week to 2.2 and flat year-to-year.

Among court shows, Paramount’s top-rated Judge Judy rose 4% to a new season-high of 5.0 but slipped 2% from a year ago. Paramount stable mate Judge Joe Brown also earned a season high with a 6% weekly rise to a four-day average of 3.4, but that was down 3% from a year ago.

The four remaining court shows all improved year-to-year, with Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Twentieth’s Divorce Court tied at a third-place 3.0. Both hit season highs over the four days that were counted, with People’s Court up 3% for the week and 20% for the year and Divorce Court up15% for the week and 7% year-to-year.

Game shows were mostly lower, with the top-three—King World’s Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and Buena Vista’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire—all down week-to-week. Wheel managed to rise 1% for the year, while the other two were down by double digits.