Broad comedy dominates in key young-adult categories

TV has become a fragmented business, but there are a few syndicated shows that still bring in viewers by the cartload — while also hitting the demo bull’s eye.

Syndie’s most-watched programs for the season are “Judge Judy” (averaging a 7.4 Nielsen household rating), “Wheel of Fortune” (7.2), “Two and a Half Men” (6.4), “The Big Bang Theory” (6.3) and “Jeopardy.”

But big household ratings often mean a large portion of a show’s audience is composed of older viewers; advertisers looking to sell their product keep a closer eye on the demos column.

And the winner there is “Big Bang Theory,” the Warner Bros. sitcom that premiered in syndication last September and has been climbing the charts ever since. By the end of this season, the show should surpass “Men,” also from Warners, as the top off-net sitcom by all measures. It’s also performing very well on CBS, consistently beating Fox’s once-untouchable “American Idol” in head-to-head competition.

“Big Bang” is syndication’s top-rated show among women 18-49 and 25-54, averaging a 4.0 and a 4.4 in those key demos, season to date. “Big Bang’s” closest demo competitor is “Men,” which averages a 3.3 among women 18-49 and a 3.6 among women 25-54.

In general, sitcoms are more appealing than any other syndicated genre to young audiences, with Twentieth’s “Family Guy” and “How I Met Your Mother” both bringing in a strong female 18-49 crowd, each averaging a 2.5 rating season to date in that demo. “Family Guy,” of course, fairs even better among men 18-49 (3.0 rating), and best among men 18-34 (3.5).

Meanwhile, syndication’s top-rated show, “Judge Judy,” ranks fifth among women 18-49, averaging a 2.4. “Judy” gains strength as its audience ages, averaging a 3.4 among women 25-54 and ranking third in that demographic behind “Bang” and “Men.”

“Wheel of Fortune,” syndication’s No. 2-rated show in households, comes in third among women 25-54 at a 2.7, but it’s sixth among women 18-49 at a 2.0. And “Jeopardy,” ranked fifth overall, comes in seventh among women 18-49 at a 1.6, and tied for eighth with Twentieth’s “Family Guy” among women 25-54.

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