Harvey scores in syndication

Gameshow, talker both hit season highs

Syndication has been good to Steve Harvey this year. The comic actor/radio host/talkshow host has seen the two shows he headlines climb the charts, with some considering his style of urban hip to be a measuring stick for success.

In the first full week of 2013, the Harvey-hosted “Family Feud” hit a series-best live plus-same day household rating of 5.4, ranking it fourth overall in firstrun syndication and placing second (with a 2.3) to CBS Television Distribution’s “Judge Judy” among women 18-49. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, “Feud” ranked third (2.6), trailing only “Judy” (3.6) and CTD’s “Wheel of Fortune” (2.7).

“Feud,” up a whopping 69% compared with last year, is seeing this kind of surge because stations last year upgraded it to access and primetime slots, where it’s now cleared in some 80% of the country.

Meanwhile, NBCUniversal talker “The Steve Harvey Show,” produced by Endemol USA, also is seeing growth. For the week of Jan. 7-13, “Steve Harvey” hit a series-high 1.6 in households, and a 1.0 among women 25-54, the latter number tying Disney-ABC’s rookie leader, “Katie.”

The return of “Steve Harvey” next year is already guaranteed, and NBCU’s sales force is working to renew it, with time-period upgrades, through the 2015-16 season.

That success is why Disney-ABC is expected to seek a host with similar urban and comic flair next season when it replaces Meredith Vieira on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” (Vieira is in talks with NBC about a daytime talkshow of her own.)

Gameshows are certainly thriving in syndication. Only CTD’s category leader, “Wheel of Fortune,” and “Millionaire” are down year to year, and not by much: “Wheel” has dipped just 3% compared with last year at this time, and is tied for the syndication lead at a 7.6 household rating; “Millionaire” is down 8% for the year, to a 2.4.

Still, “Feud’s” ratings gains offer proof to syndicators and stations that adding a new host can do wonders for an aging show.

Just look at Disney-ABC’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” which this season replaced Regis Philbin with Michael Strahan as co-host, and is easily holding its own for the year at a 2.6 among households. Over the holidays,” Live” was the top talker in households for three weeks in a row, beating CTD’s usual champ, “Dr. Phil.”

Says one syndicator: “You have to have the skills to succeed in syndication, but you also have to be in a show that appeals to people in a time period when they are available to watch.”

Steve Harvey has touched all those bases twice.

More TV

  • Hillary Clinton Hulu Documentary

    'Hillary': Clinton Docu-Series on Hulu TV Review

    As both Hillary Clinton and the team behind “Hillary” know very well, it’s nigh impossible at this point for someone to approach her with total objectivity. Throughout her life, Clinton has been a uniquely polarizing figure both in her own right and because of her marriage to former President Bill Clinton, himself a perpetual lightning [...]

  • Baldvin-Z

    Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday. “Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by [...]

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Fox's Super Bowl Ad Time Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe' From 'House' Alums

    NBC has given out its fifth drama pilot order for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has commissioned “Ordinary Joe.” It explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content