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'Judge Judy' Rules May Sweeps

Judge Judy Portrait - P 2012
CBS Television Distribution
Judge Judy

Popular court show is tops among all syndicated programs in May, one of the months each year advertisers use to set rates.

The verdict is in and Judge Judy once again ruled during the recently completed May sweeps period among all syndicated television shows.

Judge Judy’s 6.9 sweeps rating (7.9 million viewers), was a 3 percent increase in total households over last year. That represented the court show’s highest viewership during the May sweeps in the popular program’s 16-year history.

The sweeps period is important for syndicated show because the ratings help determine ad rates for the quarter of the year that follows. This year the sweeps period was from April 26 through May 23. The results were released Wednesday.

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One year ago, in May 2011, Judge Judy with a 6.7 rating (7.8 million viewers) was second among all syndicated shows behind the Oprah Winfrey finale, which scored a 13.5 rating and pulled in a whopping 13 million viewers. There was nothing this year to compare to that.

In New York City, the largest media market, Judge Judy on WCBS won the old Oprah time period at 4 p.m., with ratings that were up 31 percent from May 2011. Judge Judy beat the news now on the former Oprah station, WABC, by 91 percent.

Among talk shows Dr. Phil continued his reign with a 3.1 rating (4 million viewers), with a 1.7 rating in the key demographic group of women 25 to 54 years of age. Dr. Phil was the 15th highest rated for the May sweeps among all syndicated shows.

Dr. Oz was second among talk shows with a 2.6 rating (3 million viewers) and a 1.5 rating among females 25 to 54.

Another post-Oprah winner has been Ellen, which had a 2.4 rating during the just competed sweeps (2.7 million viewers) up from a 2.0 rating one year ago (2.4 million viewers).

Continuing what has been a very strong year of growth for the talker, Maury, now in its 14th season, had a 2.4 rating (2.8 million viewers) during sweeps, and a very smart 1.6 in the key demo of women 25 to 54.

Maury has been the top show among talkers in the less important younger demo of women 18 to 34 and women 18 to 49, where it has been on top for the past 52 weeks.

Entertainment Tonight easily topped the entertainment magazine pack with a strong 3.6 rating (4.1 million viewers) up smartly from one year ago when it had a 2.1 rating (24 million viewers).

What Judge Judy, Dr. Phil and Entertainment Tonight all have in common is that they are distributed by CBS Television Distribution, which had a very good sweeps. It also had Inside Edition, which was the second highest rated entertainment news magazine with a 2.9 household rating, as well as Wheel of Fortune, which was the third highest rated among all syndicated shows with a  6.5 rating and Jeopardy, the eighth highest among all syndicated shows with a 56 rating, up 2 percent from May 2011.

The second highest rated show among all syndicated programs is the freshman off-network sitcom from Warner Bros., The Big Bang Theory, which had a eye-popping 6.6 rating (7.5 million viewers). Big Bang has been impressive in its first year in syndication (anchored by the Fox station group) and in its first year running on cable TV outlet TBS, where it has also brought a ratings bonanza.

Among other talkers Disney’s Live With Kelly had a 2.3 rating, which was down only slightly from last year when it was Live With Regis and Kelly, at a 2.4 rating. While the search for a new permanent co-host goes on and on, most of the audience seems to be sticking with the show.