Viewership continues to drop for the sixth week.
Syndicated shows continued to struggled even as the May sweep kicked off its first full week in the week ending May 7. Some 6.4 million viewers have left off watching TV over the past six weeks, leaving syndies flat or down. Since early April, TV viewership has fallen some 12%, according to Nielsen.
Of the 30 first-run strips in syndication, only two were able to improve on the week: Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, which moved up 6% to a 3.3, and King World’s The Oprah Winfrey Show, which budged 1% to a 7.0, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings. Regis and Kelly got a lift from an appearance by Judge Judy Sheindlin, who took the show’s ratings up 16% after she appeared as a guest on the May 4 episode. Still, compared to the same week last year, in which the ratings spiked thanks to an appearance by American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis, Live was off 8%. In fact, none of the talk shows are up year to year, with even Oprah’s ratings down 13%.
King World’s Dr. Phil was down 6% to a 5.1 and down 7% from last year. The No. 4 talk show, NBC Universal’s Maury, was down 4% to a 2.5, one week after his show made headlines for getting hit with a $100 million sexual harassment lawsuit. Year to year, Maury was down 14%. Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres at a 2.2 was unchanged both week to week and year to year. CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams at a 2.0 was flat for the week and down 13% from last year. And NBCU’s Jerry Springer was unchanged at a 1.7, but down a whopping 23% from last year at this time.
The court shows remained lackluster. CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy scored a 4.5, down 2% for the week and 4% from last year. CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown at a 3.0 was unchanged for the week and down 6% from last year. Warner Bros’ People’s Court in third place at a 2.6 was down 4% for the week and the year. And Twentieth’s Divorce Court at a 2.5 was down 4% for the week and 7% from last year.
Elsewhere, all of the entertainment magazines fell from last year, although last year at this time, the magazines got a boost from ABC’s “Fallen IdolÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¿Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½? special featuring Corey Clark’s allegation of an affair with judge Paula Abdul.
CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, the No. 1 magazine, scored a 4.9, down 2% for the week and the year. CBS Paramount’s The Insider held steady at a 2.5, the show’s highest level since the week of March 27, but still off 11% from last year. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood was down 8% to a 2.3 and 15% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Extra! was flat at a 2.1, and down 9% from last year. King World’s Inside Edition, the No. 2 magazine overall, was down 3% for the week to a 3.4. IE was up 3% from last year, making it the only magazine to gain year to year.
Ratings for off-net sitcoms were mixed, with the fourth- and fifth-ranked shows showing signs of strength. King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond, the sitcom leader, at a 5.4 was down 5% for the week and 16% from last year. Sony’s Seinfeld at a 5.0 was up 2% for the week but down 11% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Friends at a 4.5 was unchanged for the week and down 13% from last year. The number-four sitcom, Carsey-Werner’s That 70s Show, was unchanged for the week at a 3.7 and up 28% from last year, largely due to multiple runs on cable network FX. Twentieth’s King of the Hill at a 2.9 was up 4% for the week and 12% for the year.
Finally, among the games, King World’s Wheel of Fortune was down 3% to a 7.8, a 6% drop from last year. King World’s Jeopardy!, at a 6.4, was unchanged for the week and down 11% from last year. And Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire at a 3.1 was off 3% week to week and year to year.