Syndication Court Show TV Viewers Up From 2015

Midway through TV’s syndication season, court shows -- as a genre -- continue to show viewership gains.

CBS Television Distribution’s “Judge Judy” has improved 6% over its season-to-date number to 10.3 million average viewers, according to Nielsen data from September 7, 2015 through March 27, 2016 versus the same time period a year ago. 

“Judy” also remains the second-highest among all syndicated TV shows in terms of all viewers.

Other court programs have fared well: CBS’ “Hot Bench” is also much higher, gaining 46% in overall TV viewership to 3.3 million; CFE’s “ES Court Combo” added 23% to 2.7 million; Warner Bros. “People’s Court” improved 6% to 2.5 million; and WB’s “Judge Mathis” is up 7% to 2.1 million. Only Twentieth Television’s “Divorce Court” has seen a decline -- down 16% to 1.8 million. 



CBS also distributes “Wheel of Fortune,” which remains the No. 1 syndicated game show, down 3% to 10.9 million. Its sister game show “Jeopardy,” also distributed by CBS, is off 6% to 9.8 million.

Other game shows that have gained include Twentieth’s “Family Feud,” up 6% to 9.8 million viewers, and Twentieth’s “Celebrity Name Game,” inching 1% higher to 1.8 million. Disney’s “Millionaire” is down a big 29% to 1.8 million.

Talk shows are a relatively closer race versus other categories -- but all are down this season. 

CBS’ “Dr. Phil” is still earning the best results, giving back 4% on its season-to-date ratings to 4.29 million average viewers. Disney’s “Live with Kelly & Michael” is off by about the same percentage -- 3% -- to 3.97 million.

Warner Bros.' “Ellen DeGeneres” has slipped 6% to 3.55 million, while NBCUniversal’s “Steve Harvey” is next, giving back 5% to 2.48 million. NBC’s “Maury” has lost 12% to 2.52 million, while Twentieth’s “Wendy Williams” is virtually the same as the year before, slipping 1% to 2.15 million.

Off-network sitcoms remain the strongest overall category, with Warner Bros.’ “Big Bang Theory” down 2% to 9.2 million -- also the fourth-highest syndication series overall.

Next is Twentieth’s “Modern Family,” giving up 16% to 5.0 million, followed by Warner Bros’ “Two and a Half Men,"  giving up 13% to 3.9 million; Twentieth’s “Family Guy” losing 11% to 3.3 million; and Warner Bros. “Mike and Molly,” down 9% to 3.1 million.

Analysts say the majority of sitcom ratings -- around 85% -- come from TV stations, with around 15% of ratings coming from cable network airings. 

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