In Depth

‘Octomom’ Lifts ‘Phil’ Ratings in Slow Syndie Week

“Dr. Phil” saw ratings success with its coverage of “octomom” Nadya Suleman, while the majority of syndication stagnated or declined slightly during the week ending Feb. 15.

CBS Television Distribution’s “Phil” rose 6% from the previous week to a 3.7 household rating, matching its season high. “Phil’s” Feb. 11 show about Ms. Suleman hit a 4.2, 20% better than the previous week.

“Phil’s” gains brought the show within eight-tenths of a ratings point of talk-show leader “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It’s the closest the shows have been since mid-December.

Major news events did preempt some shows during the week, as President Obama’s speech on Feb. 9 and coverage of a fatal plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 13 may have affected viewership.

“Oprah” itself dropped 8% to a 4.5 household rating. The rest of the talk show field did not gain ground.

Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” dropped 7% to a 2.6, while Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” held steady at a 2.3.

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution’s “Maury” fell by 5% to a 1.8 and CBS’ “Rachael Ray” dipped 6% to a 1.7.

The only other show to gain week-to-week was CBS Television Distribution’s “The Insider,” moving the needle up 5% to a 2.0. The increase is due in part to the show’s coverage of the Grammy Awards, which lifted ratings 16% week-to-week.

In court, “Oprah’s” decline benefited “Judge Judy,” as the court show took over as the highest-rated first-run program in daytime for the first time in seven weeks with a 4.6 household rating. That was despite “Judy’s” dip of 2%.

The rest of the field held steady or fell, with the largest dip coming from Warner Bros.’ “People’s Court,” off 14% to a new season low of 1.9.

Game shows all fell from last week, as CBS’ “Wheel of Fortune” led the way with a 7.4 rating, off 6%. Disney-ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” matched its season low of a 2.4 with an 8% drop.

There was little movement among the first-year shows, as all of the rookies held steady from last week. The only exception was Warner Bros.’ “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” which dropped 10% to a 0.9.