Between it and CBS Paramount, they have the top five shows in the May sweeps.
Powerhouse syndicator King World dominated the May sweeps, ending the month with the top five shows in syndication—Wheel of Fortune, Oprah, Jeopardy!, Dr. Phil and Everybody Loves Raymond. That marks the first time any one syndicator has distributed the top-five shows in one sweep period.
And King World, with help from corporate partner CBS, also had the genre leaders in talk, magazine, court, game and off-net.
Still, even those power performers were down a bit in this year’s May sweeps, which ran from April 27 through May 24. That follows a trend all of syndication is experiencing, with total daytime household viewing down more than 2.25 million households or about 12% from last year.
Starting with the talk shows, King World’s Oprah ruled the day with a 7.1 average household rating during the sweep, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings. Still, that’s down 11% from last May.
CBS Paramount’s Dr. Phil averaged a 5.5, down 5% from last year. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, which airs almost exclusively in less-watched morning time slots, averaged a 3.3, down 6% from last year. NBC Universal’s Maury had a tough May, with its host getting hit with a $100 million sexual harassment lawsuit and the show’s ratings falling 13% for the sweep to a 2.6 household average.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ Ellen was the only talk show to increase its ratings over last year, jumping 10% to a 2.3. That’s the largest improvement of any first-run strip, tripling the increase of any show in any genre. Ellen, in its third season, was up 21% over May 2004.
CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams continued its downward slide to a 2.0, a 17% drop from last May. NBCU’s Jerry Springer was down 18% to a 1.8. NBCU’s Starting Over held steady at a 1.1, and was the only talk show besides Ellen not to decline from last May. Buena Vista’s canceled Tony Danza, running its last round of original episodes, still plummeted 23% to a 1.0, talk’s biggest decline.
Among the rookie strips, Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks was up 55% from its September debut, jumping to a 1.7 from a 1.1 average household rating. Banks also was the No. 1 first-run rookie among all key female demographics. NBCU’s Martha is down 25% to a 1.5, after debuting with a 2.0 last September. Twentieth’s Judge Alex held steady at a 2.1.
Among the magazines, none of the four entertainment-exclusive programs were up from last May, but those four got a big ratings boost in May 2005 from the scandal involving American Idol’s Paula Abdul, with whom contestant Corey Clark alleged he had an affair. Still, as a group, the magazines had the smallest declines of any category.
CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight was off 4% to a 4.9, but still won its 63rd sweep in a row. That makes ET the No.1 magazine in every sweep for the past 15 years.
ET spin-off, CBS Paramount’s The Insider, was the second-highest rated entertainment magazine with a 2.6, off 4%. NBCU’s Access Hollywood was the No. 3 entertainment magazine at a 2.5, also down 4%. And Warner Bros.’ Extra! at a 2.2 was unchanged from last year.
King World’s Inside Edition, a news/entertainment hybrid, remained the No. 2 magazine overall, averaging a 3.4, up 3% from last year.
Twentieth’s Geraldo at Large, which is still not nationally rated, continued to underperform both lead-in and May 2005 time periods in its 39 metered markets. In the majority of those markets, the year-ago time periods were occupied by the now-canceled A Current Affair. For the sweep, Geraldo averaged a 2.3 rating/5 share for its primary runs, down 23% from its average lead-in of 3.0 /6, and down 4% from its year-ago time period average of 2.4/5.
Among the court shows, CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy held on to its lead with a 4.6, down 4% from last May. In second place, CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown was down 9% to a 3.0 average. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was unchanged at a 2.7. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was down 7% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was down 8% to a 2.3. And Sony’s Judge Hatchett was unchanged at a 1.7.
King World’s Wheel of Fortune continued to preside over the games with a 7.8. Wheel held its spot as the top-rated show in syndication, but was still down 5% from last year. King World’s Jeopardy! dropped 14% to a 6.4. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire had the smallest drop of any game, dipping 3% to a 3.2. Family Feud, whose host, Richard Karn, is leaving after this season, dropped 5% to a 2.0.
Among the off-net sitcoms, King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond went on reigning with a 5.5, down 14% from last May. Sony’s Seinfeld was down 10% to a 5.2. Warner Bros.’ Friends fell 13% to a 4.5.
And among the off-net rookies, Buena Vista’s My Wife and Kids led with a 2.1, up 5% from its September debut. Warner Bros.’ Sex and the City and Twentieth’s Bernie Mac each averaged a 2.0, unchanged from their fall debuts. Debmar’s late-night entry, South Park, averaged a 1.4, also unchanged from September.