New York sets tone for syndication

Show that do well in Big Apple can offset soft ratings elsewhere

New York: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and that’s definitely true in syndication.

If a show performs well in New York City, the country’s largest market, it can make up for weaker performances in smaller markets. Take Debmar-Mercury’s “Wendy Williams”: Nationally, “Wendy” averages a 1.0 Nielsen household rating, but in New York, during the month of October on Fox’s WNYW New York at 10 a.m., the show pulled a 1.5 rating, up 7% from last year. It also was the market’s top-rated show (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) in the key daytime demo of women 25-54.

(A note: November ratings aren’t comparable to last year due to disruptions from Superstorm Sandy in early November of this year.)

Moreover, the arrival of Michael Strahan — who played for the NFL’s New York Giants — on Disney-ABC’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael” has given that show a big boost in Gotham, jumping a full ratings point in women 25-54 (to a 2.4) in the 9 o’clock hour on WABC New York. That improvement also has helped CBS Television Distribution’s “Rachael Ray,” which gained 55% in the demo to a 1.4 from last October’s 0.9 at 10 a.m. on the station.

Among this year’s closely watched rookies, New Yorkers seem to have a special affinity for NBCUniversal’s “Steve Harvey.” On WNBC at 3 p.m., “Harvey” is turning in a 1.1 among women 25-54, up 170% from last year’s “New York Live,” which averaged a 0.4 in the time period.

The New York picture is not so pretty for the rest of the rookies. Twentieth’s “Ricki Lake,” on Tribune’s WPIX at 4 p.m., underperformed Warner Bros.’ “Anderson” in the timeslot in October, turning in a 0.2 rating among women 25-54 compared with the canceled “Anderson’s” 0.4. Things could be looking up for “Ricki,” however: In the most recent week ending Nov. 25, the show jumped to a 0.6 in the demo.

CTD’s “Jeff Probst” is holding steady on WNBC at 2 p.m. compared with last year’s entry, Sony’s “Nate Berkus,” with both shows averaging a 0.5. Meanwhile, the big winner of WNBC’s day is Warner Bros.’ “Ellen” at 4 p.m., which was up eight-tenths of a ratings point in October to a 1.6 among women 25-54, compared with last October’s 0.8, and is the station’s best performer of the entire day, until NBCU’s “Access Hollywood” airs at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, Disney-ABC’s “Katie” on WABC at 3 p.m. is down 33% to a 1.2 in the key demographic, compared with last year’s “General Hospital” at a 1.8. This year at 2 p.m., “General Hospital” is actually up significantly on WABC, hitting a 2.4.

Ultimately, syndicated shows that can’t cut it in Gotham might find themselves on life-support — but those that hit the mark can find their fortunes improving in a New York minute.

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