The beginning of summer finds people doing things other than watching TV as daytime PUT numbers drop even lower.
School’s out for summer and so are syndicated programs.
Levels of people using television (PUT) during daytime, which have been on the decline for two months, dropped even further in the week ending June 11, with more than three million viewers opting to leave their TVs off. Overall, total broadcast viewing levels declined by more than 2.5 million households, a 14% plunge from last year at this time.
Sports and news also took their toll. NBC’s coverage of the French Open tennis tournament combined with cable’s coverage of the World Cup soccer tourney—which started Friday, June 9—drew attention away from syndication. And on Tuesday of that week, cable news networks were covering the death of al-Qaeda leader and terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Talk shows struggled the most, with NBC Universal’s rookie, Martha, facing the biggest drop of the week among first-run strips. Martha was down 20% to a new series low of 1.2, a 40% decline from its September debut, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day household ratings.
Besides poor ratings, Martha’s host, domestic doyenne Martha Stewart, also had to endure more harsh words from primetime rival Donald Trump, whose NBC reality show, The Apprentice, has been renewed for a seventh season, while Martha’s version was canned, according to Daily Variety. “It wasn’t very good, and she wasn’t very good,” Trump told the trade paper. “This is a very important franchise. [NBC] learned their lesson. They’ll never use anyone but Trump.”
Like most syndies, Martha was in reruns. On Friday of that week, Nielsen didn’t count Martha’s ratings because the show was preempted by NBC’s coverage of the French Open.
Martha’s rookie competitor, Warner Bros.’ Tyra, at a 1.4, was down 7% from the prior week but up 27% from its September premiere.
Elsewhere in talk, King World’s Oprah dropped to a new season-low 5.4, down 8% for the week and 14% from last year. King World’s Dr. Phil also fell, down 10% for the week to a 4.5 and off 8% for the year. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, the previous week’s big talk gainer, dropped to a 3.1, down 11% for the week and 9% for the year. NBCU’s Maury at a 2.6 was up 4% for the week, but down 13% for the year, still an improvement for the show as kids get out of school.
Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres, which has been one of the few talk strips on a growth swing, dropped to a new season-low 1.8, down 14% for the week and off 5% for the year. NBCU’s Jerry Springer was flat for the week at a 1.8. Springer failed to benefit from summer vacation, falling 22% from last year.
CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams, which announced it would be airing weekly podcasts starting next Monday, fell 11% to an all-time series low 1.7, down 23% from last year. NBCU’s Starting Over held steady at a 0.8, the only talk show not to decline for the week.
Court shows also were weak. CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy remained in first place at a 4.5, down 2% for the week and down 6% from last year at this time. CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown at a 2.8 was down 10% for the week and 13% from last year. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court at a 2.6 was unchanged for the week, although down 7% from a year ago. Twentieth’s Divorce Court at a 2.4 fell 4% for the week and 8% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis at a 2.3 was down 4% for the week and the year. Twentieth’s rookie, Judge Alex, fell 5% to a 1.9. And Sony’s Judge Hatchett was unchanged at a 1.8, but up 6% from last year.
The magazines and games were little changed. King World’s Wheel of Fortune was the only access show in first-run to show an increase, gaining 1% to a 7.2 and dipping 3% from last year.
Among the off-net sitcoms, King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond fell to a new season low for the third straight week, dipping 2% to a 4.9 and falling 14% for the year. Sony’s second-place Seinfeld also hit a new season low for the second week in a row, slipping 2% to a 4.6 and losing 18% from the same week last year. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ Friends was a closer third, up 2% for the week at a 4.3, but down 14% from last year.