NCAA playoffs bump shows on CBS affils. Among those having a good week were Dr. Phil, Ellen, Rachael Ray and Inside Edition.
Most syndicated shows stayed in a narrow range for the week ending March 25 as the second week of March Madness coverage caused heavy preemptions, especially for access shows cleared on CBS affiliates, and milder weather sent PUT levels (people using television) down by 928,000 viewers on average from the week before and by 3.8 million since early March.
CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil was the only strip anywhere in first run with a double-digit increase, jumping 10% week to week to a 4.5, and closing the gap on CBS Television Distribution’s Oprah (which dropped 2% to a 5.3) to its narrowest point this season in a non-holiday week. On March 19, Phil’s ratings surged 20% from the week before to a 4.9 for a show on “Weddings Gone Bad” that featured a just-married couple involved in a motorcycle accident leaving the ceremony.
In all, only four of the 12 talk shows were up, while three were unchanged. In fourth place, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres rose 5% for the week—and 15% for past two weeks—to a 2.3. Ellen got a big boost March 19 as ratings jumped 23% to a 2.7 for a telecast featuring an appearance by the first top-12 finalist voted off American Idol—Brandon Rogers, who forgot the words to the Motown classic You Can’t Hurry Love..
NBCU’s Jerry Springer and CBS Television Distribution’s Montel Williams
were also in the plus column, with each show adding 7% to a 1.6. Comparing programs to last year at this time could be misleading since shows are in second week of Daylight Saving Time this year, but last year the time shift didn’t begin until early April.
CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray continued to trounce the rookie talkers for a record 27th straight week, holding steady at a 2.0, which was more than 30% higher than Warner Bros.’ Dr. Keith Ablow’s 0.8 and Sony’s Greg Behrendt’s 0.7 combined.
In court, CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy, at a 4.7, and CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Joe Brown, at a 3.0, inched up 4% and 3%, respectively. Five other gavelers were flat and the rest were slightly lower.
CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight was syndication’s most-preempted show, losing 25 metered markets due to basketball, including the top 4 on March 22 and 23. While still easily the highest-rated magazine, ET was down 4% to a 4.7. ET spinoff CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider had basketball preemptions in15 metered markets, including both New York and Los Angeles, but held steady at a 2.3.
As for the rest of the magazine rack, CBS Television Distribution’s Inside Edition posted the biggest gain, rising 9% to a 3.5; NBCU’s Access Hollywood was unchanged at a 2.8, but was up 8% over the same week last year; and Warner Bros.’ Extra was down 4% to a 2.2.
Game shows fairly quiet. CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune gained 6% to 8.5, but had the benefit of only a three-day average. CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy!, at a 6.1, and Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, at a 3.1, dipped 2% and 3%, respectively, while Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 1.8.
Off-net sitcoms were little changed, with CBS Television Distribution’s Everybody Loves Raymond flat at a 5.1 and Sony’s Seinfeld slipping 2% to a 4.5. The third- through fifth-place shows were tightly bunched, as Warner Bros.’ Friends gained 6% to a 3.4; Sony’s King of Queens remained unchanged at a 3.3; and Twentieth’s That ’70s Show was up 3% to a 3.2.
Weeklies trended slightly higher. CBS Television Distribution’s CSI: Miami was up 2% at a 4.5, followed by Warner Bros.’ Without a Trace, up 9% to a 2.5; Tribune’s American Idol: Rewind, up 5% to a 2.2; Twentieth’s 24, up 6% to a 1.7; Buena Vista’s Alias, down 11% to a 1.7; and Program Partners’ Da Vinci’s Inquest, up 7% to a 1.5.