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Sitcoms fizzle in Fourth of July holiday heat

Sitcoms fizzle in Fourth of July holiday heat

Review based on a national syndicated rating report for the week ending July 7.

The Fourth of July holiday week, the session ending July 7, was no laughing matter for the top sitcoms.

Category leader Big Bang Theory (3.6 live plus same day national Nielsen rating, down 10% from the week before) and Modern Family (1.6, down 6%) both fell to their lowest weekly ratings ever in syndication. 

Other major laffers losing altitude included Last Man Standing (2.1, down 5%) and Two and a Half Men (1.2, down 14%), which matched its series low.

The usual holiday flame-out was particularly severe this year due to the wildly popular FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals, which caused preemptions in some markets and stronger than usual competition.

One of the very few strips to show strength breaking into positive territory was true crime kingpin Dateline (1.2, up 9%) as well as the separately measured weekly Dateline (3.1, up 29%). But most of the other highly-rated syndies headed south.

All of the big quiz and giveaway shows declined. Family Feud (5.7, down 7%) led the genre for a fourth straight week followed by Jeopardy! (new season low 5.1, down 9%), Wheel of Fortune (new season low 4.7, down 10%) and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (new season low 1.4, down 7%).

Court shows actually held up well in daytime, even though the daypart was hit hardest by the World Cup. The season’s No. 1 showJudge Judy (5.6, down 5%) had only a minor dip, despite being in reruns for part of the session. In addition Hot Bench (2.0, steady) was mostly in repeats but still ranked as the number three show in daytime, behind only “Judy” and “Dr. Phil.”

For the 148th consecutive week talk shows continued to be ruled by Dr. Phil (new season low 2.2, down 4%) even though it was in reruns on all five days.

Live with Kelly and Ryan (1.9, steady) was on hiatus for a second week with a combination of pre-taped and repackaged programs. Nevertheless “Live” was the No. 2 talker for the 19th week in a row, well ahead of an encore frame of Ellen DeGeneres (new season low 1.3, down 19%).

Meanwhile a six-week try-out for comedic game show Punchline (0.4/1 weighted metered market average, down 33% from its lead-ins and unchanged from its June 2018 time periods) debuted July 15.

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