New strips looking good

New firstrun and off-net strips have shown encouraging signs of growth in Nielsen overnight metered markets entering the November sweeps.

Of the dozen new major strips premiering this fall (excluding the late night entries “Infatuation,””That’s Amore” and “Byron Allen”), only Television Program Enterprises’ recently canceled “Star Search” saw ratings declines over the past three weeks.

Ratings generally rise for access contenders following the end of Daylight Savings Time, but it has been a rare occurrence in recent years for virtually all major-market syndie strips to show progress at the advent of the November book.

Over the past three weeks, Twentieth TV’s “Cops” in nine markets posted the most growth. The off-Fox reruns soared 22% to a 6.6 rating/11 share last week from a 5.4/10 the week of Oct. 19.

During the same three-week period, Viacom’s off-net sitcom “Roseanne” (in 28 metered markets) rose 21% to a 7.4/12 from a 6.1/11.

MGM’s hour off-net drama “In the Heat of the Night” also copped substantial gains. The series jumped 17% to a 3.4/9 from a 2.9/8 in 30 metered markets.

Turner Program Service’s off-net comedy series “The Wonder Years” leaped 16% in 27 overnight markets to a 4.3/8 from a 3.7/7.

Warner Bros.’ off-net sitcom strip “Murphy Brown” climbed 13% to a 5.9/10 from a 5.2/9 in 24 metered markets.

Despite its well-publicized ratings woes, Genesis Entertainment’s “The Whoopi Goldberg Show” has shown some signs of life in 31 measured markets as it fights for its survival. The talker grew 10% to a 2.2/8 from a 2.0/7, but its ratings dropped a bit from week two to week three. Columbia’s off-net barter sitcom “Designing Women” improved 9% as it advanced to a 3.6/9 from a 3.3/9 in 31 markets. Multimedia Entertainment’s “Jerry Springer” and Group W’s “Vicki!” each gained 8%. “Springer” moved up to a 2.8/10 from a 2.6/7 in 24 markets, while “Vicki!” inched ahead to a 2.6/10 from a 2.4/10 in 26 markets.

Another widget from the Multimedia talkshow factory, “Rush Limbaugh,” climbed 7% to a 2.9/12 from a 2.7/11 in 30 markets.

Finally, Carsey-Werner Distribution’s “You Bet Your Life” advanced 6% to a 5. 0/10 from a 4.7/11 in 30 markets.

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