CBS Television Distribution’s “Dr. Phil” cemented his status as TV’s top talker in the February sweep, but the real winner may have been NBCUniversal’s “Maury,” which swept the month in all key female demos.
In addition to winning the race among women 18-34 and 18-49, “Maury” tied “Dr. Phil” for first among women 25-54, beating such stalwarts as Sony’s “Dr. Oz,” Disney-ABC’s “Live With Kelly” and Warner Bros.’ “Ellen” in daytime’s key demographic.
By all of those Nielsen measures, “Maury” was up significantly year-to-year, climbing 24% in households to a 2.6 same-day ratings average and up 20% or more to a 1.8 in all three of the female demos.
“Oprah left the building and that created an opening for us,” says Maury Povich, who has hosted a version of “Maury” since 1991, first for Paramount, then for Universal and now for NBCUniversal. “Fortunately the new shows that started have not been able to capitalize on that but we were.”
Povich points to his show’s success even as rivals inherited “Oprah’s” desirable timeslots. “I think we were able, through our topics, to create an atmosphere that people still want to watch,” Povich adds.
It’s not entirely true that other syndicated shows have not been able to capitalize on the departure of “Oprah.” In fact, a majority of talkshows are up year-to-year, with several demonstrating significant demo growth.
“Dr. Phil,” at a 3.4 average household rating, won its first-ever sweep after a decade on the air. With Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin out of the picture, “Dr. Phil” has finally taken sole possession of syndication’s top talk slot.
In second place, Sony’s “Dr. Oz” climbed 25% to register the most improved ratings of any talker among households; it was also up by double digits in all key female demos. “Live With Kelly” was flat in households year to year at a 2.8, shedding older viewers while spiking by 33% among women 18-34 and 21% among women 25-54.
Finally, NBCUniversal’s “Jerry Springer” also was on the rise, up 7% in households to a 1.5 (eighth among talkshows) and by more than 20% in women 18-34 and 25-54.