Warner Bros. scores a hat trick

This is the 1,200th post. Hurray for the blog!

Three syndicated freshman strips from Warner – Two and a Half Men, TMZ, and George Lopez scored gains in the just-concluded May sweeps, according to Nielsen. Men ranked as the top off-network sitcom in syndication last month, while Lopez surprised everyone by finishing fifth among all off-net sitcoms, jumping up 41 percent from September 2007.

It was also a good book for Twentieth – whose Family Guy finished second among off-net sitcoms. Perhaps reflecting a shift to lower-rated My Network TV stations owned by Fox in a few markets, Everybody Loves Raymond took a hit, down 27 percent from last year.

Among other shows, CBS’ Judge Judy scored a 7 percent gain year-to-year, while Jeopardy! scored a three percent gain. Judy topped Wheel of Fortune in GAA ratings by two-tenths of a ratings point. GAA ratings are used when a show is run more than once in a day, such as in the case with Judy (Wheel does not use GAA ratings, since it’s only run once a day.) Judy was the only court show to increase its’ audience year-to-year while other programs in the genre declined.

Among new shows using September 2007 to May 2008 averages, it was a mixed bag: Judge David Young was flat, Jury Duty was up and game shows Merv Griffin’s Crosswords and Temptation were down. Temptation is not expected back this fall.

May was a bad month for talk, with almost every entry down. The biggest drop came with Jerry Springer, down 31 percent from last year (there is some hope!) Live with Regis & Kelly, Dr. Phil, and Oprah also reported double-digit decreases. While Tyra and Martha also saw decreases, they can at least point to increases in Local People Meter markets. Warner’s Ellen was also down, but only by 5 percent. The only talk show to score an increase was Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet.

The tabloid/entertainment prime access shows were all down, except for one – TMZ, which was up 10 percent since its September premiere.

Updated 8:45 p.m. (added TVNewsday link)