Syndies sing holiday blues

Rookie strips see increases over uneven playing field

With attention focused on the holidays, viewership for syndicated shows declined significantly for the frame ending Dec. 28.

Nielsen excluded the Christmas Day segment of some shows due to dropped coverage, so the syndie playing field was slightly uneven.

Overall, top-ranked shows stumbled the most. “Wheel of Fortune,” maintained its first-place position, but with a season-low 7.9 rating, down 14% from the previous week. Similarly, “Jeopardy” hit a season low with a 6.2, a 15% drop from last week’s average.

Week’s biggest dip was registered by “Dr. Phil” (down 21% to a season-low 4.1).

Still, coal was not in everyone’s stocking. Many of the rookie strips saw increases, including dark horse “Living It Up with Ali & Jack,” which registered a series high 1.3 (up 18%). Series may have benefited from underperformance of “Live With Regis & Kelly,” in reruns for the first time this season. “Live” slid 3% to 3.9.

“Ellen” led the rookies for the seventh consecutive week, with a 1.6, unchanged from the prior week. With a 1.3 “Sharon Osbourne” tied “Living It Up.” “Sharon” featured another round of guest hosts, including Tracy Morgan and Kathy Griffin.

“Wayne Brady” commanded its best week ever with a 1.2, up 9%. Strength was largely driven by a special Dec. 24 music show featuring “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard that grabbed a beefy 1.5.

The only frosh strip not to be blessed was “Starting Over.” With a 0.9, its drop was 10% from the previous week.

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