Syndication’s Most Bankable Stars

With the NATPE convention getting underway today, Let’s visit an article TV Week published last week on Syndication’s Most Bankable Stars, picked by a panel of syndication experts. Among the highlights:

-Topping the list again is Oprah Winfrey, thanks to her continuing success of new now two- decades old talk show.

-Oprah’s spinoff show, Dr. Phil, is number two.

-Newcomer (and hottie) Rachael Ray is fifth. (Yes, I’m drunk.)

-Ellen DeGeneres is sixth. You have to question this ranking though, as her ratings are actually down from last year and her talk show has struggled against Oprah in top markets.

-Another question mark is the number seven choice, Tyra Banks daytime show. According to the article, the program only has a 1.4 household rating and a 1.1 rating in the core women 18-49 demo. (Despite the low numbers, Fox O&Os that air the show renewed it through 2009.) Even though she has a hit show in Top Model, that airs on the CW, not in syndication. Future syndication star? Maybe in time. Bankable star in 2007? Maybe in 2008– if the ratings continue upward.

-Only two sitcoms made the cut this time, and they are at the bottom of the list: Everybody Loves Raymond is ninth, and Seinfeld is tenth. Though the ratings are higher than many first-run shows (Thank TBS for that), both are down dramatically from a year ago.

-Two programs that made the list for the last few years, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, surprisingly did not make the cut, perhaps reflecting the fact that both game shows’ audiences skew to older audiences.

-Also missing the cut: Friends and The Simpsons. Friends fever may be subsiding, as TBS recently dropped an airing of the show, and WGN here in Chicago moved the show out of its access period into early fringe and pushed the late night airing to 11:30. As for The Simpsons, the programs’ three-times-a day airings in some markets (as well as a seemingly lackluster network season) may be finally catching up to Homer & Co.

-Finally, where’s The Andy Griffith Show, M*A*S*H, and I Love Lucy? These classic shows are still performing well in viable time slots (especially with Andy Griffith in some southern markets and Lucy in L.A.) These evergreen sitcoms are also syndication’s bankable stars, as they often outperform most new programs in syndication year in and year out. Other continuing well -performing evergreen product include Cheers, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons. Shame on the panel for not giving props to the old school.

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