Most shows post lower ratings during Turkey Week. The Insider was one notable exception.
The distractions of football and a full stomach from Thanksgiving caused most syndicated programming to suffer audience withdrawal during the week ending Nov. 26 which included the third full week of the November sweeps.
Breakouts and coverage losses from holiday preemptions caused many shows to have three- or four-day averages.
One show that didn’t suffer was The Insider. It turned in its best ratings in 37 weeks, delivering a 2.8 for the week, best since the week of March 6, up 4% from the previous week. The show got a boost on Nov. 20 from its coverage of Michael Richards’ recorded apology that aired on David Letterman’s show. Insider’s ratings continued at a 2.8 on Tuesday and Wednesday as it covered the excalating Clay Aiken-Kelly Ripa his-hand-on-her-mouth controversy that was inflamed by Rosie O’Donnell’s remarks on The View.
Entertainment Tonight, the highest-rated entertainment news magazine was up 2% to a 5.6, equaling its prior season high and was the only syndie strip of any type to show improvement over last year, gaining 2%.
On the down side, Inside Edition, the No. 2 magazine, fell 17% to a new season low of 2.9. Access Hollywood, in fourth place following The Insider, slipped 11% to a 2.5. Extra was also down, losing 9% to a 2.1.
Most talk shows were flat to down, in some cases way down. But it was a very good week for Ellen Degeneres thanks to former President Bill Clinton who appeared on her show on Nov. 21 and sent ratings surging 14% from the prior week to a 2.4, making it the show’s biggest non-holiday episode of the season. For the week, Ellen averaged a new season high of 2.2, up 5%.
Top talker Oprah was down 13% to a new season low of 6.2. Dr. Phil dipped 4% to a 5.1, Live with Regis & Kelly was unchanged at a 3.5 while Maury was up 4% to a 2.4. However, all of the veteran talk shows were down from the same week a year ago, with Oprah and Montel Williams showing the biggest losses—they were down 31% and 39%, respectively.
In rookie performance, Rachael Ray was top performer for a tenth consecutive week, holding even at a 2.1 and opening up a triple-digit lead on its closest talk rivals. Ray also hit new season highs in eight of the 55 overnight markets.
Greg Behrendt and Megan Mullally were flat at a 0.8 each and Dr. Keith Ablow was being reprocessed.
All of the off-net sitcom strips were down. The leader, Everybody Loves Raymond, fell 11% to a new season low 4.8, followed by Seinfeld which was down 9% to a 4.3 and Friends which dropped 11% to a 3.4. And all three were down from last year by 20% or more.
Among the courtrooms, everything was down by single-digits or flat with the exception of People’s Court which hit a new season high of 2.9, up 4% for the week and for the first time this season tied Judge Joe Brown for second place among the courts. Brown was down 3% to a 2.9.
The top jurist continues to be Judge Judy, despite slipping 2% to a 4.7. Like the daytime talk shows, all of the court shows were down from the comparable week last year.
Among the rookies, Christina’s Court fell 7% to a 1.3 and Judge Maria Lopez got closer, gaining 11% to a 1.0.
Game shows were weak, with everything dropping except Family Feud which was unchanged at a 1.8 in fourth place. Wheel of Fortune, the top game, slipped 14% to a 7.7, followed by Jeopardy! which was down 18% to a 5.9 and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire which dropped 9% to a 3.0. All of the gamers were down from last year, although only Family Feud had a double-digit decline, losing 10%.
Among the weekend offerings, ET Weekend led the first-run weekly hours with a 3.1, up 15% from the week before and even with last year. In second, Access Hollywood Weekend, was up 6% to a new season high 1.9, although down 17% from last year, while Extra Weekend dropped 13% to a 1.4 and lost 18% from last year.
Among the off-net hours, rookie CSI: Miami was on top with a 4.4, down 6% from the prior week. Second and third places were both rookies, Without a Trace, at a 2.8, was up 8%, and American Idol Rewind was up 13% to a 2.6.
Among weekly first-run half hours, Wheel of Fortune Weekend was up 52% to a new season high 4.1, followed by Ebert & Roper which was unchanged at a 2.1.
Among off-net weekly half-hours, Seinfeld Weekend was in front with a 3.6, unchanged, followed by Everybody Loves Raymond Weekend at a 3.1, also unchanged.