‘Donahue,’ ‘Cosby’ lose while other syndies gain

This article was corrected on November 13, 1992. A ratings story Thursday incorrectly stated the rating for All American TV’s “Baywatch” in the Nielsen national syndie rankings for week ended Nov. 1. Series declined 3% from the previous week to a 5.8.

The first week of the November sweeps brought an end to Daylight Savings Time and big gains for most syndie shows, but a few notable strips took major year-to-year hits in the Nielsen national barter rankings.

Multimedia Entertainment’s “Donahue” (5.8) absorbed one of the biggest blows, sinking 18% from the corresponding week a year ago, when the program averaged a 7.1 rating.

Ratings for the talkshow have never fully recovered from the summer, when the program experimented with a “ghost host” format: the vacationing Phil Donahue provided taped intros while faceless producers roamed the studio audience seeking questions for guests.

“Donahue’s” declines from November 1991 compare with a 4% decrease for King World’s top-rated talker “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (10.8 to a 10.3) and a 13% jump for Multimedia’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” (4.8 to a 5.4).

Paramount’s “The Maury Povich Show, which earned a 3.8 a year ago, climbed 21 % to a 4.6. The talker has picked up a dozen stations and boosted its clearance from 94% to 96% of the country.

Tribune Entertainment’s “Geraldo” posted a 5% increase to a 4.5 from a 4.3, despite a shrinking station lineup–losing 13 markets. Its coverage dipped from 96% to 95% of the country a year ago.

Buena Vista Television’s “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” leaped 22% to a 4.5 from a 3.7, while Warner Bros.’ second-year entry “Jenny Jones” declined 16% to a 1.6 from a 1.9.

The biggest year-to-year dive was Viacom’s aging off-net sitcom “The Cosby Show,” which slid a whopping 30% to a 5.7 from an 8.2 amid strong competition from new and returning off-net sitcoms.

Columbia Pictures Television Distribution’s “Married… with Children” gained 6%.

Among the top syndie shows, KW’s “Wheel of Fortune” was off 1% from the corresponding week in ’91; Paramount’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” rose 7%; KW’s “Jeopardy!” increased 5% and Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” was up 1%.

Twentieth TV’s tabloid titan “A Current Affair” declined 8%, while KW’s “Inside Edition” jumped 9% (after gaining 41 markets and 6% coverage over the previous year) and Par’s “Hard Copy” fell 10% to a 5.2 from a 5.8.

Par’s “The Arsenio Hall Show,” competing in a new latenight talkshow environment, fell 13% to a 2.8 from a 3.2 a year ago. Twentieth TV’s “Studs,” which has breathed down Hall’s neck from time to time, averaged a 2.4.

On the weekly front, “Wheel” regained the top household ratings spot during the ratings period ended Nov. 1 after trailing “Star Trek: TNG” for four unprecedented weeks.

“Wheel” jumped 15% over the previous week to a 13.9 rating, while “Trek” beamed down 5% to a 13.2. The weekly sci-fi show maintained a monstrous lead over all competition in the key 18-49 and 25-54 selling demos, however.

“Jeopardy!” answered the sweeps by posting the largest ratings increase of the week. The show jumped 26% to a 12.9, but still failed to regain its customary No. 2 spot on the rankings list.

With the roll back of the clock, nearly every program jumped sharply during the week.

Of note among the newcomers, Viacom’s off-net sitcom “Roseanne” leaped 15% to an all-time high of a 6.3 and “The Wonder Years” broke the 4.0 barrier for the first time by grabbing a 4.1 (vs. a 3.9 the previous week).

Multimedia Entertainment’s “Rush Limbaugh” rode the pre-election wave of political enthusiasm by surging 18% to a 3.3. And Genesis Entertainment’s “Whoopi Goldberg Show” rebounded to a 1.9 from a 1.7 a week earlier.

Two talkshows set records during the week. “The Maury Povich Show” scored a season high 4.6 rating (21% up over the previous week), edging past “Geraldo” (with a weaker station lineup) for the third time this season.

“Povich” beat “Regis” (4.5) for only the fourth time this fall. The BVTV show , however, tied its all-time high NTI mark and rose from the previous week’s 4.3 .

Among the few off-net and firstrun efforts, declining shows during the week were All American TV’s “Baywatch” (down 3% to a 4.8), MGM’s “In the Heat of the Night” (dipping 4% to a 2.7), Tribune’s “Joan Rivers” (falling 11% to a 1.7), “Jenny Jones” (dropping 6% to a 1.6) and Genesis’ “Infatuation” (giving up 10% to a 0.9).

Flat performers included Columbia Pictures Television Distribution’s “Designing Women” (6.0), Group W Prods.’ “That’s Amore” (1.1) and BYCA’s “Byron Allen” (0.4 and tied for 122nd place out of 124 ranked shows).

The Nielsen Television Index rankings report, used to determine advertiser rates for programs containing national commercial time, differs from the local market sweeps reports that will be made available at the end of the month.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety