Syndication Takes Big Hit From Olympics

Either competing against, or preempted by, the games, the rest of TV didn’t stand a chance against the first week of the London extravaganza.

The week ending Aug. 5 marked the first full week of the Olympic games and NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood took the gold, scoring its highest ratings in more than four years.

On the other hand, almost everything else in syndication was severely hampered by the Olympics, which aired on NBC stations as well as cable and many shows were pushed to new season lows.

Magazine Shows

Access Hollywood, which was anchored from the London games and featured extensive Olympics news and features, was the only access strip to improve week to week and the only show of any type to notch a new season high as its ratings spiked 50% from the week before, and 69% from last year at this time, to a 2.7. That marked the show’s strongest performance since the week of Jan. 28, 2008.

As expected, every other magazine was down in the Olympics week. Leader Entertainment Tonight (CTD) was hit with a 16% decline to a new season low 3.1.

Inside Edition (CTD) dropped 7% to a 2.7; TMZ (WBDTD) tumbled 5% to a 1.8; The Insider (CTD) slipped 13% to a new season low 1.3; while Extra (WBDTD) was preempted by the games for all or part of the week in 38 markets and was completely broken out of the ratings by Nielsen.


Talk Shows

Shows airing in daytime were also clobbered by competing with the games or being preempted by the coverage. Maury (NBCU) slumped 9% to a 2.1, its lowest rating in 17 weeks. Usual leader Dr. Phil (CTD) fell 21% to a new season low 1.9; Live plunged 26% to a 1.7, which was its lowest rating in more than 20 years; Jerry Springer (NBCU) sank 13% to a 1.3; and Steve Wilkos Show (NBCU) weakened 8% to a 1.2, while most of the other talkers were broken out of the ratings due to massive preemptions.

First-Run Freshmen

This season’s rookie champ Anderson (WBDTD) did not air in 55 markets during the week and also had its ratings broken out by Nielsen. Jeremy Kyle (Debmar-Mercury) was flat at a 0.5, while latenight dating show Excused (CTD) was off 14% from the week before to a 0.6.

Court Shows

In court, topper Judge Judy (CTD) settled for a season low 5.7, which was down 10% from the week before, but still good enough to beat every other show in first-run syndication. Judge Joe Brown (CTD) dipped 4% to a 2.4; People’s Court (WBDTD) faded 5% to a 1.8; while Judge Mathis (WBDTD) was unchanged at a 1.4.

Game Shows

Game shows were all down by double digits. Wheel of Fortune (CTD) skidded 10% from the prior session to a new season low 5.4. Jeopardy (CTD) stumbled 12% to a new season low 4.5; Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury) deteriorated 13% to a 2.8; and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Disney-ABC) dwindled to a new season low 1.9, down 21%.

Off-Net Sitcoms

Among the off-net sitcoms, Big Bang Theory (WBDTD) shed 6% from the previous session to a 5.9. Two and a Half Men (WBDTD) eroded 8% to a new season low 4.7; Family Guy (Twentieth) was flat at a 3.8; How I Met Your Mother (Twentieth) was down 14% to a 2.4; King of the Hill (Twentieth) was unchanged at a 2.3; and Seinfeld (Sony) softened 9% to a a new season low 2.0.

Off-Net Weekly Hours

On the weekend, Monk (NBCU) was the only winner among the off-net hours, moving up 15% to a 2.3 and tying Criminal Minds (CTD) for the lead. Minds was down 4% to a new season low 2.3 and Law & Order (NBCU) surrendered 27% to a new season low 2.2. Meanwhile Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBCU) shrank 28% to a 2.1, tying Without a Trace (WBDTD), which erased 13% to a 2.1; and Cold Case (WBDTD) cooled off by 21% to a 1.9.

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