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Syndicated TV Ratings Top 25: 'Oprah Winfrey Show' Finale Draws 16.4 Million Viewers

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June 8th, 2011


The May 25 finale of the Oprah Winfrey Show drew a big time 16.4 million viewers. Our polled readers turned out to be somewhat optimistic. It was rated separately as a "special" by Nielsen, apart from the rest of her shows that week (likely requested because of advertising sales purposes). The Monday and Tuesday originals, and the Thursday and Friday repeats for that week were rated separately as a normal line item in the table below. Note, like all ratings on our site except those specifically noted as Live + 7 Day, they include Live + Same Day DVR viewing.

Except for the giant Oprah finale, Judge Judy once again topped all first-run syndication, for the week ending May 29, and topped all syndication period, edging out even Wheel of Fortune (WheelTwo and a Half Men averaged more viewers, but in terms of households, which, for whatever reason is the standard metric for reporting syndicated numbers, her honor won out over everything.)


Please see notes below about recent changes to Nielsen syndicated show measurement. The short version is that the change benefits shows with more than one daily telecast (Two and a Half Men, Judge Judy) and is a disadvantage (relative to the old measurement) for shows that only have one telecast per day (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy).

Top 25 Syndicated Shows for the week ending May 29, 2011:

Rank Program Dist. Days HH Rating Viewers (000)
1 OPRAH'S FINAL FAREWELL(S)-05/25/2011 CTD ..W.... 11.5 16,404
2 JUDGE JUDY CTD MTWTF.. 6.3 8,779
3 WHEEL OF FORTUNE CTD MTWTF.. 6.3 10,022
4 TWO-HALF MEN WB MTWTF.. 6.2 9,548
5 OPRAH WINFREY SHOW CTD MT.TF.. 5.9 8,289
6 JEOPARDY CTD MTWTF.. 5.4 8,324
7 Family Guy-MF 2/T MTWTF.. 4.5 6,708
8 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT CTD MTWTF.. 3.9 5,775
9 DR. PHIL SHOW NBU MTWTF.. 3.2 4,332
10 INSIDE EDITION CTD MTWTF.. 3.1 4,520
11 MY WIFE AND KIDS CTD MTWTF.. 3.0 4,285
12 WHEEL OF FORTUNE WKND DAD ......S 3.0 4,724
13 Criminal Minds CTD ......S 3.0 4,436
14 HOW I MET-MTHR-MF 2/T MTWTF.. 2.7 4,136
15 GEORGE LOPEZ WB MTWTF.. 2.7 3,855
16 JUDGE JOE BROWN CTD MTWTF.. 2.6 3,647
17 SEINFELD CTD MTWTF.. 2.6 3,869
18 MONK WB ......S 2.6 4,013
19 TWO-HALF MEN WKND B SPT ......S 2.6 4,104
20 OFFICE CTD MTWTF.. 2.5 3,655
21 EVRY LVS RAYMOND NBU MTWTF.. 2.5 3,550
22 WITHOUT A TRACE DAD ......S 2.5 3,704
23 LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY 2/T MTWTF.. 2.4 3,203
24 KING OF THE HILL 2/T MTWTF.. 2.4 3,203
25 MILLIONAIRE WB MTWTF.. 2.3 3,380

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Why Aren't The Simpsons on This List?!

While The Simpsons repeats are available nationally its ratings are not counted in the weekly syndicated ratings because The Simpsons does not sell any national advertising in syndication.

Please note that the syndicated weekly results are delayed versus normal reporting.  While we get the broadcast and cable ratings for the prior Monday-Sunday period every Tuesday, there is an extra week of lag time with the syndicated ratings and these numbers are not for last week, but for the week before last.

More  disclaiming about recent measurement changes...

Note from Nielsen:

Previously for syndicated shows, we reported the AA (average audience) viewing averages rather than  the GAA (Gross Average Audience) viewing averages, but when Nielsen recently changed the standard reporting average audience metrics to include duplicate DVR viewing before 3am, they changed the syndicated averages as well.

Previously if someone in a Nielsen household watched Judge Judy the first time it aired and then watched the second syndicated episode, both times counted in the GAA numbers, but only one viewing counted in the average audience measure we reported. Now both viewings would count in the average audience number.

As a result, shows which previously had noticeably better GAA numbers than AA numbers are getting a boost.  That's a relative advantage for shows that have multiple airings in syndication like Two and a Half Men and Judge Judy and a relative ranking disadvantage, relative to the old measurement methodology, for shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy that only have one daily airing.

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For syndicated shows which air on multiple days, the viewership shown is the average of all telecasts.

BUENA VISTA items are syndicated packages of old Disney movies.

DAD = Disney ABC Domestic Television, SPT= Sony Pictures Television, 2/T=Twentieth Television, ESP = ESPN, CTD = CBS Television Distribution.

AT = Additional Time/Telecasts, more than the typical number of episodes or time periods/week

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2011 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

 
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