Talk of the Town

First-run chat, game and court shows post major gains

Driven by talk shows like The OprahWinfrey Show and Dr. Phil, the syndication world showed strong ratings numbers for the week ended Jan. 22, based on the national live-plus-same-day household ratings. Game shows and court programs also posted powerful performances.

Helping the numbers was a big Monday, with many viewers home for the Martin Luther King holiday. All 11 first-run talk shows were up week-to-week, with five tying season-high average ratings. Oprah led the way as usual; its 7.9 rating was a 16% jump from the previous week. Dr. Phil was next with a 5.5 rating, up 2% for the week, while Live With Regis and Kelly followed with a 3.6, good for a 3% bump.

Maury tied its season-best number with a 3.3, a genre-topping 22% jump in ratings week-to-week. The Ellen DeGeneres Show gained 4% to a 2.5, followed by Jerry Springer and Montel, both of which advanced 10% for the week to tie their season highs at a 2.3. The Tony Danza Show and Starting Over also tied season highs, Danza up 8% to a 1.3 and Starting Over gaining 9% for the week to a 1.2.

Rookie talkers Martha and The Tyra Banks Show were both up 6% week-to-week, Martha to a 1.8 and Tyra to a 1.7.

Game Shows Win, Too

It was also another robust week for the top game shows, as the big three hit season highs for the second consecutive week. Wheel of Fortune topped the category as usual, up 3% for the week to a 9.3. Jeopardy! was next with a 7.5 (up 1%), while Who Wants To Be a Millionaire gained 3% to a 3.6.

Strong Bench Players

Among court shows, four of the top five were up week-to-week, with Judge Judy the exception, down 2% to a 5.0. Judge Joe Brown gained 6% to a 3.4, The People’s Court was up 3% to a 3.0, Divorce Court picked up 8% week-to-week with a 2.8, and Judge Mathis was up 13% to a 2.6.

But the year-over-year numbers were not as glowing, which is notable because two more court shows are due out in the fall (Sony Pictures Television’s Judge Maria Lopez and Twentieth Television’s Cristina’s Court). Perhaps because of the glut of court shows on the dial, Judy was off 6%, Joe Brown was down 15%, Divorce Court lost 7% and Mathis was down 4%; People’s Court (up 3%) was the only one of the top five court shows to make a positive move.

In the entertainment-newsmagazine category, Entertainment Tonight continued its march toward 500 straight weeks on top of the genre (it’s at 498), tying its season high for the second straight week with a 5.5. The news was equally good for the weekend edition of ET, which scored a season-high 3.5, up 30% week-to-week on the strength of an episode featuring the stars of Fox’s Skating With Celebrities.

Inside Edition was up 6% week-to-week with a 3.8, followed by ET spin-off The Insider at a 2.9, which was down 6% from the prior week, in which it tied its highest rating ever. Access Hollywood was flat at a 2.7, while Extra was up 4% to a 2.5.

In off-net sitcoms, leader Everybody Loves Raymond was up 1% to a 6.8, while Seinfeld gained 7% for the week to a season-best 6.2. Friends slid 2% to a 5.1.


Talk of the Towns

B&C's top general managers, multiplatform broadcasters and news director brought big-time innovation to the local television game in 2010