Judge Judy Tops In First Run TV Syndication Last Week

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The feisty magistrate beats out 'Wheel of Fortune'; while 'The Big Bang Theory' in its first season is top-rated among all syndicated shows.

Judge Judy ruled last week in first run TV syndication.

Her popular court show beat perennial ratings leader Wheel of Fortune last week. She had beaten Wheel before, most recently a month ago, but it remains a rare occurrence. Both shows are from CBS Television Distribution.

Last week Judy had a 6.7 household rating, up 3 percent from the prior week’s 6.5. Wheel was down 3 percent to  6.6 rating from a 6.8 in the prior week.

Among adults 18 to 49, a key demo for advertisers, Judy had a 1.9 rating and Wheel a 1.4 rating. About three quarters of Judy’s viewers are women. Among females 18 to 34, Judy last week scored a 2.3 rating while Wheel had a 1.6 rating.

Both shows consistently beat Jeopardy, the 5th highest rated syndicated show overall, which had a 5.7 household rating last week and a 1.3 rating among adults 18 to 49.

Judge Judy, which first went on the air in 1996, has been a syndicated ratings phenomenon since about 2008, when it began to out rate Oprah.

It got a boost a year ago when Nielsen Media Research changed the way they calculate syndicated ratings so that each show gets its own number. Before that shows like Judge Judy which typically airs two episodes in a row (creating a one hour block) had the second show penalized in the ratings.

Judge Judy’s success is also surprising since daylight savings time went into effect recently, which hurts shows like hers that air in late afternoon or early fringe (5 to 7 pm). When there is more daylight there is less viewing during those hours.

Overall Judge Judy was second in syndicated ratings for the week behind the amazing The Big Bang Theory, which in its first year in off-network airing has proven to be a game-changer.

For years the top off-network show had been Two and A Half Men. Since last December, Big Bang has blown by the Charlie Sheen reruns. Last week Big Bang has a 7 rating in households and a 3.7 rating among adults 18 to 49, which is a key demographic measure for advertisers.

Two and  a Half Menhad a 5.9 household and a 2.4 rating in adults 18 to 49.

The irony, of course, is that both Big Bang and Men share a common executive producer in Chuck Lorre, who had highly publicized battles with his former star Charlie Sheen. Now his newer show, which is also executive produced by Bill Prady, has surpassed the reruns of the Men episodes with Sheen.

Both Big Bang and Men are distributed by Warner Bros. TV.

Among the talk shows Dr. Phil returned to the top of the list after an off-week last week when his show was pre-empted in many markets by sports (college basketball). Dr. Phil was the 17th ranked show among all syndicated programs with a 2.7 household ratings. That put him in a virtual tie with Dr. Oz, which had been the top show the week before. Dr. Oz also  had a 2.7 household rating.

Both Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz were originally  spun off from Oprah and share a connection though Harpo Productions. Dr. Phil is distributed by CBS while Dr. Oz is distributed by Sony Pictures TV.