'Wheel of Fortune,' 'Dr. Oz' Score Big Ratings Gains During Quarantines

A host of syndicated shows post double-digit increases in the second half of March.
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From left: 'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak, 'Jeopardy' host Alex Trebek, Dr. Mehmet Oz

The overall jump in TV usage in recent weeks has extended to syndicated programming. 

A host of daytime and early-evening shows, among them Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Family Feud and The Dr. Oz Show, had double-digit ratings growth in the last two weeks of March. The larger pool of viewers at home during quarantines for the novel coronavirus pandemic has also lifted newsmagazines like Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight and talk shows including Dr. Phil and Live With Kelly and Ryan.

Network daytime shows including ABC's The View and CBS' The Price Is Right have also hit multiyear highs in recent weeks.

A Hollywood Reporter analysis of 16 first-run syndicated shows, which also includes the perennially high-rated Judge Judy and first-year shows Tamron Hall, The Kelly Clarkson Show, 25 Words or Less and Judge Jerry, showed that daily viewership increased by 14 percent in the last two weeks of March compared to the prior two weeks. Fourteen of the 16 shows were up in the second half of the month. The only two that weren't were The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which was essentially flat (falling by fewer than 10,000 viewers), and Access Hollywood, which declined a bit after posting some of its best numbers of the season in the first half of March.

The weekday editions of Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Family Feud were the three most-watched shows in syndication from March 16-29, and among the most-watched across all of TV. Wheel of Fortune averaged 12.13 million viewers during those weeks, jumping by 2.25 million viewers from the previous two weeks, before widespread stay-at-home mandates took effect. Jeopardy (11.91 million viewers) and Family Feud (10.7 million) grew by 1.77 million and 1.64 million viewers.

Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy both air in early-evening prime access slots in much of the country, following local and network news telecasts — which have also increased their ratings substantially in recent weeks. 

Dr. Oz had the growth in terms of percentage in the second half of March, which coincided both with widespread quarantines and host Mehmet Oz's increased appearances on other media outlets. His talk show averaged 1.63 million viewers in those two weeks, a 38 percent jump over the prior two weeks and almost 45 percent ahead of the 1.13 million viewers it drew in February.

Live With Kelly and Ryan hit a nearly four-year high of 3.68 million viewers the week of March 23, and its two-week average of a little under 3.4 million was 26 percent ahead of the previous two weeks. Dr. Phil improved by about 5 percent despite airing some reruns and being preempted in some markets. Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight rose by at least 15 percent each in the second half of March.

Among network daytime shows, both halves of The Price Is Right posted their highest viewer tallies since January 2016 in the week of March 30. The View, meanwhile, averaged 3.44 million viewers that week, its biggest audience since May 2014. The ABC talker also delivered its best numbers among women 18-49 and 25-54 in two years.