Debmar-Mercury Scores Ratings Hat Trick

The syndicator's three first-run shows — Family Feud, Wendy Williams and Celebrity Name Game -— posted strong ratings in the week ending Feb. 22. Celebrity and Wendy hit records in household ratings, while Feud matched its all-time high.


Three of Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury’s syndicated shows — Family Feud, Wendy Williams and Celebrity Name Game with Craig Ferguson — each set ratings records or matched previous highs in the week ending Feb. 22, according to Nielsen.

Feud with host Steve Harvey and Wendy Williams have been posting ratings increases the past few years, but it’s a novelty for Celebrity. That game show debuted in September to a 1.1 household rating, but has been inching up. For the week ending Feb. 22 it had a 1.5 household rating.

“The show is getting some traction,” says Mort Marcus, co-president of Debmar-Mercury. “We’ve done research on this. The show has one challenge, which is awareness. That’s why this is a big story. People are starting to find it.”

Celebrity, from FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury (which also handles distribution), has already been renewed for a second season to begin in the fall. However, its improving ratings come despite some stations recently downgrading it into lower-rated time slots.

Marcus and Debmar-Mercury Co-president Ira Bernstein attribute all three shows’ improved ratings to a combination of factors, including the cyclical increase in TV viewing when the weather is cold.

But they also say the ratings reflect the shows’ improved on-air promotions and, in the case of Feud and Wendy, time slot upgrades and station upgrades in a few mostly small and midsized markets this season.


“And we’re getting a little better at the creative all the time,” Marcus says. “We’re getting a little better figuring out the shows’ points of view.”

Feud, which is produced by FremantleMedia North America and distributed and marketed by Debmar-Mercury, matched a record 7.2 household rating in the week ending Feb. 22. That’s up 26% over the same week last year.

Family Feud has been getting better stations and time periods,” says Marcus. “The show is also just really funny.”

Feud airs in prime access in many markets where some sitcoms have been suffering ratings declines. There may be some migration over to Feud from off-network comedies.

Meantime, the Wendy Williams Show, now in its sixth season, had a record 2.0 household rating the week ending Feb. 22. That’s up 25% from the same week last year.

Debmar-Mercury produces and distributes the show.

“She’s getting better, the show is getting better and the clearances are getting better,” Bernstein says. “The show has ratings momentum and we don’t see any reason why it won’t continue to grow. Our station lineup and time periods are getting even better in the fall.”

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