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March Madness shocks schedules and blocks syndication

March Madness shocks schedules and blocks syndication

Steve Harvey’s “Steve” and “Wendy Williams” are only talkers able to advance 

Review based on a national syndicated rating report for the week ending March 24.

The annual NCAA Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. March Madness, dominated the session ending March 24 and created much stronger than usual competition for syndicated shows. In addition, programs cleared on CBS stations suffered heavy game preemptions while many daytime strips were penalized by Mueller Report coverage on March 22.

Steve (1.3 live plus same day national Nielsen, up 8% from the week before) and Wendy Williams (1.5, up 7%) were the only two of the 14 talk shows able to jump into positive territory. The Steve Harvey-hosted daytime mainstay approached its highest ratings of the season even though it was partially in reruns. Williams’ eponymous show also grew in the host’s third week back after a two month absence.

Leading the chat-fests for the 133rd straight frame was Dr. Phil (2.5, down 11%), which aired repeats on several days and was bumped in many markets.

Not far behind was Live with Kelly and Ryan (2.2, down 4%), which captured second place for a fourth consecutive week with repackaged and pre-taped programs. Ellen DeGeneres (1.9, unchanged) held on to third.

Judge Judy (6.3, down 9%) continued to preside at the very top of the syndication chart for a record 37 weeks in a row despite featuring reruns for most of the frame.

Also making an impact was Hot Bench (2.3, up 5%) which aired four days of repeats and ranked as the No. 3 show in daytime, behind only “Judy” and “Phil.”

Family Feud (5.9, unchanged) had a clear lead among game shows for the first time since the week of February 11. Jeopardy (5.6, down 11%) and Wheel of Fortune (5.5, down 11%) followed.

On the magazine rack Entertainment Tonight (2.8, down 10%) andInside Edition (2.8, down 10%) were tied. Hanging tough even with numerous preemptions was Access (1.3, steady), which tied TMZ (1.3, unchanged).  Extra (1.1, steady) and Daily Mail TV (1.0, steady) were also solid performers in the face of the basketball onslaught.

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