Review based on a national syndicated rating report for the week ending December 23.
Extensively covering the life and death of Penny Marshall, the popular co-star of beloved sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” and later the acclaimed director of hit films like “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” several syndicated entertainment newsmagazines managed to avoid declines in the traditionally low-rated run-up week to Christmas ending December 23.
Marshall, 75, died of heart failure at her Los Angeles home December 17 as the result of cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes.
Although many programs in other genres were in the minus column entertainment mags Access (season high 1.3 live plus same day national Nielsen rating, steady with the previous week), Extra (1.1), Daily Mail TV (1.0) and Page Six TV (season high 0.7) all held their ground. The No. 1 showbiz magazine was Entertainment Tonight (2.9, down 3%).
The week’s hottest category leader was true crime mainstay Dateline (1.4, up 8%), which jumped to its highest rating since the week of November 19 and surged 17% in the coveted W25-54 age group.
Turning to talk, the classification with the most shows in first run, Dr. Phil (2.9, down 3%) was tops for the 120th consecutive week.
Live with Kelly and Ryan (2.2, down 4%) outperformed Ellen DeGeneres (1.9, down 17%) for second place honors with Maury (1.4), Steve, starring Steve Harvey (1.3) and Wendy Williams (1.3, down 7%) not far behind third place “Ellen.”
Judge Judy (7.0, down 5%) remained robust despite being in reruns for most of the frame, presiding at the top of the entire syndication chart for the 21st week in a row.