‘Star Trek’ season bows at warp speed

The sixth-season premiere of Paramount’s weekly “Star Trek: The Next Generation” blasted the syndie series into a new ratings orbit.

“Trek” captured an all-time high season-debut rating of a 13.8 in the Nielsen national syndication barter rankings for the week ended Oct. 4, and an astronomical 15.1 average for its multiple-run averages–the latter representing a 9% improvement over its fifth-season multirun premiere mark of a 13.9.

In terms of demos, “Trek” dominated the competition across the board, earning a stellar 12.2 rating in the key selling categories of adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

King World’s second-ranked strip “Wheel of Fortune,” with a hefty 12.7 household rating, earned a 3.3 rating among adults 18-34, a 4.0 for adults 18-49 and a 4.8 for adults 25-54.

Elsewhere, a spate of new shows entered the highly competitive syndication arena in a week when even most of the established programs experienced some ratings erosion.

Perhaps the most high-profile entry debuting in the rankings was Columbia Pictures Television Distribution’s new all-barter off-net sitcom, “Designing Women.”

The strip, which is heavily cleared in 209 well-designed markets covering 98% of the country, scored a healthy 5.4 household rating (and 6.0 for cumulative runs).

That number is off 7% from the 5.8 rating (and 6.3 cumulative mark) the show received in its first week after its ratings were reprocessed (Daily Variety, Oct. 12).

With most sitcoms growing at least a rating point over the course of a season , Col appears to be on target for meeting its seasonal 7-8 rating guarantee to advertisers.

Among the other new off-net sitcoms with element of barter, Viacom’s “Roseanne” was reprocessed in her debut despite hefty numbers in overnight markets.

Turner Program Services’ “The Wonder Years” dipped 3% in its second week to a 3.6 from a 3.7. That compares to the 7-8 rating guarantee for the show, which has been cleared on 127 stations covering 85% of the country.

The new off-net barter edition of MGM’s “In the Heat of the Night” copped a 2 .5 rating in 85% of the country, slightly ahead of Multimedia Entertainment’s “Sweating Bullets,” which exuded a 2.2 in its premiere with similar coverage.

Turning to the season’s new firstrun strips, Carsey-Werner Distribution’s “You Bet Your Life” remains the top-rated entry of the frosh crop but lost viewers during the week. “Life,” with a number of major market access clearances , dropped 9% to a 4.3 from a 4.7 the previous two weeks.

Multimedia Entertainment’s “Rush Limbaugh” talker rose 7% during the week to a 2.9. Instark contrast is Genesis Entertainment’s “Whoopi Goldberg Show,” which plunged 17% to a 2.0 from a 2.4 the previous week and 20% from its 2.5 premiere mark.

In early fringe-daytime, Viacom’s “Montel Williams Show” made its debut in the national rankings (after a slow rollout) with a decent 2.1 rating on 108 stations covering 84% of the country.

Group W’s daytime talker “Vicki!” rose slightly to a 1.9 from a 1.7; Tribune Entertainment’s “Joan Rivers” rose 0.2 to a 1.7; Warner Bros.’ sophomore entry “Jenny Jones” inched up a notch to a 1.6; and Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer” dipped a tenth to a 1.4.

Television Program Enterprises’ “Star Search” strip gained a tenth to a 1.4; Group W’s “That’s Amore” climbed 0.1 to a 1.2; and Genesis Entertainment’s “Byron Allen” lost 0.1 to fall to a paltry 0.5 rating in 45% of the country.

In the weekly race, All American TV’s second-year drama “Baywatch” grabbed a 4.9 to lead a pack of hourlong actioners.

Cannell Distribution’s cop-turned-bounty hunter series “Renegade” shot up 18% to a 4.5 from a 3.8 in its second week, while Rysher Entertainment’s TV adaption of “The Highlander” pix premiered not far behind with a 4.0. The second-season premiere of Cannell’s “Street Justice,” meanwhile, captured a 3.3.

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