‘Judy’ Squeaks Past ‘Jeopardy’ For Sweeps Win

Judge Judy beat back a furious challenge from a surging Jeopardy and its most dominant player in years, James Holzhauer, for the overall No. 1 spot in syndication in May.

The verdict is in and Judge Judy has won the May sweep for the 10th year in a row with a nosebleed-level 7.1 live-plus-same day national Nielsen average, matching its second-highest May rating in five years.

That beat back a furious challenge from a surging Jeopardy and its most dominant player in years, James Holzhauer. By the end of the sweep, which ran from April 25 to May 22, trivia titan Holzhauer had ratcheted up the popular game show’s ratings 19% from last year to a second-place 7.0 while already winning 25 straight games and more than $1.9 million.

Judge Judy, which has been syndication’s highest-rated show in the May sweep every year since 2010, not only made it a full decade at No. 1, but finished with a bigger average than the four other nationally rated court shows combined and easily out-rated the Jeopardy sweep episodes that did not feature Holzhaurer by double-digit percentages.

Elsewhere, Dr. Phil waltzed to victory among the talk shows in May for the eighth year in a row with a 2.8 sweep average and approximately 3.8 million daily viewers.

Live with Kelly and Ryan also came up big, taking sole position of second place with a 2.2 rating for the sweep after being tied with Ellen DeGeneres at a 2.1 last May. Ellen was third with a 2.0.

Other strong May performers among talkers include Wendy Williams, which was tied for fifth last year and moved up to fourth with a 17% leap to a 1.4, and Steve Harvey’s Steve, which held its own at a 1.2 and surged 13% in key market Los Angeles, topped only by General Hospital in its timeslot.


In access, Entertainment Tonight remained the top-rated magazine in a tie with sister show Inside Edition at a 2.8 and approximately 4 million daily viewers.

Access was able to generate significant annual growth, including 8% in top market New York, 44% in Atlanta and 150% in Tampa, Fla., despite competing with the Holzhauer-fueled Jeopardy in many large markets, and moved up in rank to tie TMZ at a 1.2.

Extra also often went head-to with Holzhauer, including in six of the top nine markets, but still managed double- and triple May increases in numerous key cities. Its best metered numbers were in Providence, R.I., where it grew 13% to a 4.4 rating/7 share.

Also worthy of note was rapidly rising Daily Mail TV, which in only its second season saw major year-to-year large market growth and jumped into a tie with Extra at a 1.0.

Dateline was the true-crime leader by a wide margin, growing 8% from last May to a 1.3 with about 1.7 million daily viewers. Newcomer Chicago P.D. was another hot property in the sweep, surging 25% from September debut to a 1.0.

The sweep’s top-rated daytime talk shows in the women 25-54 demo were:

  • Dr. Phil (1.2 average, -8% from last May)
  • Live with Kelly and Ryan (0.9, unchanged)
  • Ellen DeGeneres (0.8, -20%), tied with Maury (0.8, unchanged) and Wendy Williams (0.8, unchanged)

In the household rating rankings that follow, % change is from May 2018; * indicates a new season-high rating; ** indicates a new season low; NC indicates no change from the previous week; NA mean not applicable.


Dr. Phil (CTD) 2.8 -13%

Live with Kelly and Ryan (Disney-ABC) 2.2 +5%

Ellen DeGeneres (WBDTD) 2.0 -5%

Wendy Williams (Debmar-Mercury) 1.4 +17%

Maury (NBCU) 1.3 -7%

Steve (NBCU) 1.2 NC

Steve Wilkos (NBCU) 1.1 +10%

Rachael Ray (CTD) 1.0 -9%

Dr. Oz (Sony) 1.0 -9%

The Real (WBDTD) 0.7 NC

The Doctors (CTD) 0.6 -14%

Pickler & Ben (Disney-ABC) 0.4 +33%

Jerry Springer (NBCU) 0.4 -64%


Face the Truth (CTD) 0.7 NA

Caught in Providence (Debmar-Mercury) 0.5 NA


Judge Judy (CTD) 7.1 NC

Hot Bench(CTD) 2.3 NC

People’s Court (WBDTD) 1.4 -7%

Judge Mathis (WBDTD) 1.0 NC

Divorce Court (20th Television) 0.7 -22%


Jeopardy (CTD) 7.0 +19%

Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury/FMNA) 5.9 -5%

Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 5.9 +2%

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Disney-ABC) 1.6 NC

Funny You Should Ask(Entertainment Studios) 0.5 +25%


Right This Minute (Disney-ABC) 1.2 -14%


Dateline M-F (NBCU) 1.3 +8%

Live PD: Police Patrol (Sony) 1.0 NA

True Crime Files (20th Television) 0.3 NA


Chicago P.D. (NBCU) 1.0 NA


Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 2.8 -7%

Inside Edition (CTD) 2.8 -7%

TMZ (WBDTD) 1.2 -8%

Access (NBCU) 1.2 NC

Extra (WBDTD) 1.0 -9%

Daily Mail TV (CTD) 1.0 NC

Page Six TV(20th Television) 0.6 -14%

Celebrity Page (Trifecta) 0.2 NC


Big Bang Theory (WBDTD) 4.3 -2%

Last Man Standing (20th Television) 2.0 -5%

Modern Family (20th Television) 1.7 -19%

Two and a Half Men (WBDTD) 1.4 -7%

The Goldbergs(Sony) 1.4 -7%

Family Guy (20th Television) 1.2 -20%

Mike and Molly (WBDTD) 1.1 -15%

Black-ish (Disney-ABC) 1.1 NA

Two Broke Girls (WBDTD) 1.0 -9%

Seinfeld (Sony) 1.0 NC


Dateline Weekly (NBCU) 3.1 -6%

NCIS: New Orleans (CTD) 1.5 NA

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBCU) 1.3 -13%

Castle (Disney-ABC) 1.2 NC

Chicago P.D. (NBCU) 1.2 NA

Major Crimes (WBDTD) 1.0 -9%

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