Pair top sweeps in key demographic among syndicated talkshows

Daytime TV has always been targeted squarely at women, but more than ever, syndicators discuss daytime success or failure almost strictly in terms of the key demo — women 25-54.

A show’s performance in the demo during the November sweep, the first time in the new season all TV stations in all markets receive ratings info on how their shows are doing, often goes a long way toward deciding whether young strips will be renewed or canceled. This year’s sweep was contracted, because Nielsen didn’t count five days during the period in which outages and preemptions along the East Coast due to Superstorm Sandy resulted in programs being cleared in 85% or less of the country.

CBS Television Distribution’s “Dr. Phil” remains the top talker in the demo, adding 5% this November over last, to a 1.9 same-day rating, according to Nielsen. Warner Bros.’ “Ellen,” which has been turning in the best season of ratings in its 10-year history, improved 12% year-to-year (from 1.6 to 1.8), the most growth of any talker.

Conversely, Disney-ABC’s third-place “Live! With Kelly and Michael” fell 11% (from 1.8 to 1.6). However, November-to-November comparisons for “Live” are a bit unfair, considering Regis Philbin’s farewell appearance on “Live” aired to huge audiences during last year’s November sweep. With the addition of Michael Strahan, who joined the show as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on Sept. 4, “Live” is up vs. last season among women 18-49.

NBCUniversal’s “Maury” tied “Live” for third in the key demo at a 1.6, up 7% from last year’s 1.5. However, “Maury” led all talkshows in the two younger female demographics, women 18-34 (1.4) and 18-49 (1.6).

“Maury” was followed by Sony’s “Dr. Oz,” which fell 7% to a 1.4 among women 25-54, down from last year’s 1.5.

Disney-ABC’s rookie “Katie” and NBCU’s “Steve Wilkos,” which has been on an upswing, both scored a 1.0. CTD’s “Rachael Ray” was down 18% to a 0.9, tying NBCUniversal’s rookie, “Steve Harvey.”

While high ratings among women 25-54 is a key indicator of a show’s success, it’s not the only one. Shows with strong international sales — such as “Jeremy Kyle” (0.4, flat year to year) or “Trisha” (0.3) — have some staying power because they have other revenue streams. Still, the ideal is to have both high household numbers and high demo numbers, which is the case with “Dr. Phil” and “Ellen.”

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