Syndication Ratings Reflect Olympic Effect

Aug 26, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The juggernaut of Olympics coverage around the dial spelled trouble for syndicated series during the week of Aug. 11, with some long-running programs hitting all-time lows, according to Nielsen Media Research.
However, several shows were able to benefit from the programming disruptions, including “Access Hollywood,” which served as the lead-in to NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Beijing Games in many markets. “Access” saw a 24% gain to a 2.1 rating, good enough for third place in a tight genre.
Top-ranked “Entertainment Tonight” also was up, rising 3% to a 3.6 for distributor CBS, with “Inside Edition” second at a 2.6, holding even for the week.
“The Insider” and “TMZ” both were down 5% week-to-week, scoring a 1.8 rating.
However, the biggest decliner was “Extra,” which was preempted or shifted in a number of markets due to the Olympics coverage. In fact, the series was completely off the map in six of the top 50 markets for the entire week. The result saw “Extra” drop 19% to hit an all-time series low of 1.3.
Among talk shows, only three series managed to gain ground: NBC Universal’s talk-show trifecta of “Steve Wilkos,” “Jerry Springer” and “Maury” all showed improvement. “Maury” rose 6% to a 1.9, “Jerry Springer” jumped 10% to a 1.1 and “Steve Wilkos” grew 19% to a 0.9.
Meanwhile, Ellen DeGeneres got a wedding gift from Nielsen on the week she got married. Her talk show scored a 1.6 rating, which was even for the week, and recorded the biggest year-to-year increase in all of first-run syndication at 7%.
Meanwhile, “Oprah” earned a 3.9 for a dip of 9%, “Dr. Phil,” slipped 6% to a season-low 3.2 and “Live With Regis and Kelly” dropped 11% to a 2.4 rating, which equals the show’s lowest rating since Nielsen first established its database in 1991.
Elsewhere, “Morning Show” fell 10% to a 0.9 and “Tyra Banks” was unchanged at a 1.0.
The category that saw the worst performance for the week, however, was the game show ranks, with every single program down week-to-week.
“Wheel of Fortune” fell 10% to a 6.0, “Jeopardy!” dropped 5% to a 5.2, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” tumbled 14% to a new season low of 2.4 and “Family Feud” was down 6% to a 1.6.


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