The good doctor was up 3% from last May, with much higher gains in several key markets. Other strong performers included several talkers and off-net’s Big Bang Theory.
Judge Judy (CTD) was the top-rated show in the May sweep (April 26-May 23), averaging a 6.9, the highest May Nielsens in the program’s 16-year history.
Nationally, Judy rose 3% from last May, although in some key cities the show surged as much as 10 times that.
For example, in top market New York, Judy was up 31% from last May, winning what was the Oprah time period at 4 p.m. for WCBS. Head to head, Judy beat local news on Winfrey’s former station WABC by 91%; Ellen on WNBC by 132%; and Dr. Oz on WNYW by 159%.
Court shows following Judy, which has been the category leader for 819 consecutive weeks, were mostly down from their year-ago sweep numbers. Judge Joe Brown (CTD), the No. 2 gaveler, eased 4% to a 2.6 sweep average; People’s Court (WBDTD) added 11% to a 2.0; Judge Alex (Twentieth) plunged 18% to a 1.4, and landed in a tie with Divorce Court (Twentieth), which sank 13% to a 1.4, and Judge Mathis (WBDTD), which lost 7% to a 1.4.
Dr. Phil (CTD) had a strong sweep. It led the talk shows by a 19% margin in the first May ratings period without Oprah in 26 years and equaled last year’s 3.1 mark. Phil has now been the No. 1 talker 30 times this season.
Dr. Oz (Sony) was a distant second with a 2.6, which was up 18% from last May; Maury (NBCU) tacked on 14% from last May to a 2.4 (while posting gains of 13% among women 18-34 and 14% among women 25-54); The Ellen DeGeneres Show (WBDTD) advanced 20% to a 2.4; Live dropped 4% to a 2.3; while The Doctors (CTD) and Rachael Ray (CTD) held steady at 1.6 and 1.5, respectively.
Of course, preemptions for news coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death during the May 2011 sweep depressed the year-ago ratings for some, but not all, shows. One show with clear double-digit growth was Anderson (WBDTD), first-run syndication’s rookie champ, which was up 27% from its September debut to a 1.4 average, and more than doubled the rating of any other newcomer.
Jeremy Kyle (Debmar-Mercury) increased 20% from its season opener to a 0.6, while We the People with Gloria Allred (Entertainment Studios) was flat at a 0.4. In latenight, Excused (CTD) was on par with its 0.6 premiere rating.
Slow rollout Access Hollywood Live (NBCU) held steady with its 0.9 rating/3 share year-ago time period rating in its 17 metered markets, while equaling its delivery in New York and growing 38% in Los Angeles and 67% in Chicago.
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) easily took the magazine race for the 87th consecutive sweeps period, dating back to 1990, with a 3.6 average. Although this was off 10% from last May, that was to be expected since all the mags declined from one year ago when their ratings were inflated by coverage of the Royal Wedding, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s divorce and news of the former California governor’s love child, which he said he fathered with a member of his household staff.
Inside Edition (CTD) fell 3% to a 2.9 average; TMZ (WBDTD) shrank 5% to a 2.0; Access Hollywood (NBCU) slipped 10% to a 1.8; The Insider (CTD) gave back 11% to a 1.6; and Extra (WBDTD) dipped 12% to a 1.5.
Among game shows, Wheel of Fortune (CTD) was flat year to year at a 6.5 sweep average; Jeopardy (CTD) inched up 2% to a 5.6; Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury) jumped 30% to a 3.0; and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Disney-ABC) moved up 4% to a 2.5.
In off-net syndication, sitcoms were led by newcomer Big Bang Theory (WBDTD), which climbed 47% from its September premiere to a 6.6 average. Among the veterans, Two and a Half Men (WBDTD) sank 15% from last May to a 5.5; Family Guy (Twentieth) tumbled 16% to a 3.8; and How I Met Your Mother (Twentieth) was greeted with 7% decline to 2.6.
Off-Net Weekly Hours
Law & Order (NBCU) took off-net weekly hour honors with a 3.0, which was up 11% from where it started the season in September. Criminal Minds (CTD), which was on top last May, faded 6% year to year to a second-place 2.9; Monk (NBCU) was unchanged at 2.3; while Numbers (CTD) did the math and realized it was down 9% to a 2.1, tying Without a Trace (WBDTD), which erased 5% of last year’s ratings.