Warmer weather meant a chilly week in the household ratings for most syndicated shows, but there was one hot spot in the third full week of the February sweeps: Ellen.
The Warner Bros. talk show “Ellen DeGeneres” was the only first-run series in syndication to show week-to-week improvement, a rare occurrence in the industry. Not only was the show up in ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research, but the strip scored a season high and matched an all-time-best rating in the show’s four-year run.
The series jumped 8 percent from the previous week to a 2.7 rating and boosted its key female demographics by double digits in the process. “Ellen’s” score was helped by two factors: the guest appearance of talk show rival Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, Feb. 21, and the build-up to the Academy Awards, which Ms. DeGeneres hosted on Sunday, Feb. 24.
The appearance of Ms. Winfrey gave the Warner Bros. series its best one-day score ever, a 3.3 rating, up 43 percent from the previous Thursday.
Other programs in the talk category didn’t fare as well, largely due to the easing up of harsh weather conditions on the East Coast that previously propped up audience levels as more people stayed indoors.
Six series in the genre were down while two others held even. Those slipping include category leader “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which had the biggest decline for the week, tumbling 14 percent to a 6.5 rating. Fellow CBS Television Distribution program “Dr. Phil” dipped 11 percent to a 5.1 score. Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” fell 10 percent to a 3.5. NBC Universal’s duo of “Maury” and “The Jerry Springer Show” both held even for the week, with ratings of 2.7 and 1.9, respectively.
Among court shows, all of the veteran series in the genre were down for the week. “Judge Judy” slid 4 percent to a 5.1 score, “Judge Joe Brown” was down 9 percent to a 3.2, “The People’s Court” dropped 6 percent to a 3.0 rating and “Judge Greg Mathis” was off 4 percent to a 2.7.
Game shows followed suit, with all four series in the category taking a dip. “Wheel of Fortune” fell 4 percent to an 8.7, “Jeopardy!” was down 3 percent to a 7.2, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” slid 8 percent to a 3.6 and “Family Feud” was off 13 percent from the previous week to a 2.0 score.
Newsmagazines finally came down from several consecutive weeks of ratings buildups, with all five series either down or even for the week. Category leader “Entertainment Tonight” came off of a three-year high to earn a 6.0 score, down 9 percent. “Inside Edition” fell 10 percent to a 3.8 rating, while “The Insider” and “Access Hollywood” tied for the week at a 2.9 score. “The Insider” was down 9 percent while “Access” was off 6 percent. “Extra” was the only newsmagazine strip to hold even, earning a 2.5 for the week.