Syndicated talk shows, which had been slow for the season’s first two months, finally caught fire as producers rolled out their best ideas for the November sweeps during the week ended Nov. 5.
Syndicated talk shows, which had been slow for the season’s first two months, finally caught fire as producers rolled out their best ideas for the November sweeps.
Ratings for the week ending Nov. 5, which included the first two weekdays and first weekend of the sweep, showed that the talk shows were definitely where the action was. Kind of a reversal of a trend, in which the talk shows were fairly quiet in the first two months of the season .As the sweep begins, the talk shows ramped up their programming and amped up their ratings.
All of the top six shows were up for the week, while the top four talkers hit new season highs, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day national household ratings.
King World’s Oprah jumped 12% for the week to a new season high 7.7. King World’s Dr. Phil was up 6% to a 5.3, which was not only a new season high but also the show’s highest rating since last May. Driving Phil’s ratings was a 22% increase to a 6.1 on the first day of the sweep, Thursday, Nov. 2, when a cheating husband got mad at Dr. Phil and stormed off the set.
In third place, Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly was up 3% to a new season high 3.5, pushed by the show’s 3.9 for the show’s annual Halloween extravaganza when Regis and Kelly first came out dressed as each other and then went through three more costume changes during the show.
At a 2.4, NBC Universal’s Maury also hit a new season high up 4% for the week.
Other shows gained for the week but did not hit high marks. Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres was up 11% to a 2.1. CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams was up 6% to a 1.7.
Year to year, all of the talk shows were down except Oprah, which was up 5% and Dr. Phil, which was flat.
Among the rookie talkers, King World’s Rachael Ray once again led the pack at a 2.0, steady for the week and better than the next two talkers combined. An appearance by singer Barry Manilow on Nov. 2 scored a 2.2, and was the show’s highest-rated episode in three weeks.
In second place, Warner Bros.’ Dr. Keith Ablow remained flat at a 1.0. Sony’s Greg Behrendt fell 11% to a 0.8 and tied NBC Universal’s Megan Mullally, which was unchanged at a 0.8.
In related news, Megan Mullally moved again in Los Angeles, where it switched from noon on KNBC to 3 p.m. The show initially premiered in September on the station at 4 p.m., but was downgraded to noon at the end of October. On Monday, Nov. 13, Ellen moved to 4 p.m. from 3 p.m., replacing underperforming public access shows Your L.A. and Local Story.
Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire remained the fastest-growing strip in all of first-run for a seventh consecutive week. Millionaire jumped 13% from last year and was up 3% for the week to a 3.4.
In general, games were strong, with King World’s top-rated Wheel of Fortune up 4% for the week to a season high 8.8 and up 6% from last year. King World’s Jeopardy! was up 3% for the week to a 6.9, up 10% for the year. The only game show that fell from one year ago was Tribune’s Family Feud, soon to be distributed by Debmar-Mercury, dropping 5% for the year to a 1.8, although up 6% for the week.
Most news magazines saw little movement after a recent hot streak. CBS Paramount’s The Insider, tied for third place with NBCU’s flat Access Hollywood, was the only magazine to improve week to week, gaining 4% to a 2.6, but down 10% for the year. CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, the genre’s top-rated show, was the only magazine up from last year, gaining 2% to a 5.4 and holding steady for the week. King World’s Inside Edition, in second place, was down 3% for the week and 6% for the year to a 3.4. Warner Bros.’ Extra! was down 5% to a 2.1 and down 9% from last year. And Twentieth’s Geraldo at Large, a newcomer to national syndication, was down 6% to a 1.5.
Court shows were mostly down, but CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy, the courtroom leader, was up 4% for the week and year to a season high 4.8. The only other talk show to show gains for the week was Sony’s Judge Hatchett, which jumped 7% to a 1.6. All the court shows other than Judy were flat or down for the year.
The rookie court shows also fell. Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court was down 7% to a 1.3, while Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez dropped 10% to a 0.9.
In the first weekend of the sweeps, CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend kept its large lead among the first-run weekend hours, with a 3.0, up 3% for the week and year. Warner Bros.’ Extra! Weekend was second at a 1.7, up 6% on the week and down 11% from last year. NBCU’s Access Hollywood Weekend was next at a 1.5, up 7% for the week but down 17% from last year.
Three rookies led the off-net weekly hours. King World’s CSI: Miami at a 4.7 was down 2%. Tribune’s American Idol: Rewind at a 2.9, a season high, was up 4%. And Warner Bros.’ Without a Trace at a 2.7 fell 4%.