Talk Shows Shine At Sweep’s Halfway Point

Most of the genre posted gains in the week ending Nov. 11 compared to two weeks earlier, since there were no ratings in the week immediately prior due to Hurricane Sandy.

Syndication surged in the week ending Nov. 11, which marked the approximate midpoint of the key sweeps period.

Talk Shows

Talk shows were especially strong, with Dr. Phil (CTD) leading the way and five of the top seven yakkers scoring new season highs.

Phil was the No. 1 talker for the eighth week in a row with a 3.2, which was its strongest rating of the year and up 7% from the week ending Oc. 28. (Nielsen did not release national weekly ratings for syndicated show for the week ended Nov. 5 due to the devastating Hurricane Sandy.)

Phil also ruled the talkers among women 25-54, growing 12% to a 1.9 in the key demo.

Live with Kelly and Michael (Disney-ABC) spiked 12% from two weeks ago to a 2.8, which matched its season high set in its premiere week when Michael Strahan was finally revealed as Kelly’s new co-host.


Ellen (WBDTD) clocked its best-yet numbers of its red hot 10th season, jumping 8% 10 a 2.6. Dr. Oz (Sony) added 9% to a new season best 2.5; Maury (NBCU) had the sharpest increase of any talker in the top 10, climbing 14% to a new season high 2.4 and finishing first among both women 18-49 and women 18-34.

Steve Wilkos Show (NBCU) had one of its strongest weeks ever, notching a new season high and growing 7% to a 1.5. Wilkos had the greatest improvement of any talk show compared to last year at this time with a 15% rise. Tying Wilkos was Rachael Ray (CTD), which rallied 7% to a 1.5, its best performance since September.

First-Run Freshmen

The new talk show entries were relatively solid compared to two weeks before. Katie (Disney-ABC) mustered a 1.8, which was a 5% dip from the week ending Oct. 28, but posted an easy ninth straight victory over this year’s rookie crop.

Steve Harvey (NBCU) had the biggest gain among the newcomers, advancing 8% to a 1.3. Jeff Probst (CTD), The Ricki Lake Show (Twentieth) and Trisha (NBCU) held steady at 0.7, 0.7 and 0.5, respectively.

Among shows not yet nationally rated, Access Hollywood Live (NBCU) averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share in 11 metered markets, which was even from the week before and up 22% from last year at this time. Ratings for new interactive game show Let’s Ask America (WBDTD) were steady week to week at a 1.7/3, while its key women 25-54 demo grew 13% to a 0.9/3.

Court Shows

The verdict on courtroom champion Judge Judy (CTD) was a new season high 7.4 national rating, which made it the highest-ranked show in first-run syndication and marked a 10% increase from the prior ratings session.

Judge Joe Brown (CTD) eased 4% to a 2.4; People’s Court (WBDTD) picked up 6% to a 1.9; and Judge Mathis (WBDTD) was flat at a1.6.

Magazine Shows

Most magazines ran into heavy preemptions for election coverage. For example, Extra (WBDTD) did not air more than 70 times in various markets during the week, but managed to hold steady at a 1.5.

Leader Entertainment Tonight (CTD)  gave back 3% to a 3.8, but still won the mag race for a milestone 850th consecutive week, or every week for more than 16 years. Inside Edition (CTD) inched up 3% to a 3.1. TMZ (WBDTD) was a standout in the category, mushrooming 25% to new season high 2.0.

Access Hollywood (NBCU)  was steady at a 1.6; The Insider (CTD)  retreated 7% to a 1.4; and rookie Dish Nation (Twentieth) was last with an unchanged 0.8.

Game Shows

In game show action, Wheel of Fortune (CTD) and Jeopardy (CTD) were up 6% to a 7.0 and 7% to a 6.4, respectively, compared to two weeks before, with both posting new season highs.

Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury) surged 12% to a new series high 4.6; Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Disney-ABC) was flat at a 2.3; while newcomer Baggage (GSN) packed a 10% gain to a 1.1.

Off-Net Sitcoms

Among the off-net sitcoms, Big Bang Theory (WBDTD) exploded for a 21% increase to a new season high 7.5. Two and a Half Men (WBDTD) also clicked for a new season best, growing 17% to a 5.5; Guy advanced 6% to a 3.8; and How I Met Your Mother (Twentieth) moved up 13% to a 2.6.

Off-Net Weekly Hours

The off-net weekly hours were mixed with topper Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBCU) down 11% from the week ending Oc.t 28 to a 3.4. Sister show Law & Order (NBCU) rose 8% to a 2.8; House (NBCU) was hot, hitting a new season high 2.7 while adding 8%; CSI: Miami (CTD) warned up 4% to 2.6; while Criminal Minds (CTD) remained unchanged at a 2.6.

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