Syndies suffer Thanksgiving blahs

Thanksgiving week was a turkey for most syndicated series in the midst of the November sweeps, with several major talkshows taking big hits.

A number of distributors resorted to three-day averages in an effort to minimize the damage in the third week corresponding to the local market sweeps, according to Nielsen’s national barter rankings for the period ended Nov. 28.

But even weekly shows weren’t immune. The No. 1 series duringthe week in November 1992, Paramount’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” sank 10% to 11.9.

Wheel keeps spinning

Not everyone was suffering, however. King World’s top-rated duo of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” were both up over the similar week a year ago, with “Wheel” spinning ahead about 5% to 13.8 and “Jeopardy!” jumping 9% to 12.1.

Among the newsmags, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” eased 1% to 8.5 from November 1992, but stayed well ahead of King World’s “Inside Edition.”

That show earned a four-day average of 7.4, flat with its year-ago mark. Paramount’s “Hard Copy” garnered a three-day mark (Monday-Wednesday) of 6.3, up 19% from last year’s 5.3 but off sharply from the previous week’s 6.9.

Numbers for Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” were reprocessed during the week. Although the newsmag has been far off its previous year’s average in recent comparisons, it has risen more than a full rating point since it underwent a retooling just before the start of the sweeps and — at least through the previous week — leads “Copy” and “Edition” in the 18-34 and 18-49 demos.

KW newcomer “American Journal” was the biggest loser in the newsmag genre, plunging 11% over four days to 4.0.

In the chat pack, Multimedia’s “Donahue” plummeted 22% to 4.9 from the show’s year-ago mark of 6.3. Contrast that with KW’s talk leader “Oprah Winfrey,” which gained 10% to 10.1 from last year (but decreased 10% from the previous week).

Multimedia’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” sank 7% to 5.2 from a year ago, while Tribune’s “Geraldo” gave up 7% (but was still 14% up over the previous week’s depressed mark of 3.7).

Paramount’s “Maury Povich” slipped 2% to 4.3 from the previous year, while Group W’s “Vicki!” (2.6) had a mixed bag of news — the show managed a healthy 24% year-to-year gain but dropped 10% from the previous week.

‘Lake’ superior

Among the new crop of talk hopefuls, Columbia’s “Ricki Lake” gained 8% to 2.6 , Twentieth TV’s “Bertice Berry” was flat at 2.3 and KW’s “Les Brown” (which has lost time periods to “Ricki” in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh since KW put “Les” on “hiatus”) dropped 13% to 2.0.

The best year-to-year performers during the week were Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” (up 22% to 2.8), Viacom’s “Montel Williams” (up 21% to 3.4) and Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer” (up 16% to 2.2).

Arsenio in doghouse

In latenight, Par’s “Arsenio Hall Show” lost a quarter of his audience from the same week a year ago, sinking 25% to 2.4 from 3.2.

Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” improved 13% year-to-year, rising to 3.6 while dropping 8% from the previous week.

Elsewhere during the abbreviated week, Col’s off-net sitcom “Designing Women” fell 21% from the previous year to 5.0, while the distrib’s “Married … With Children” was off 12% to 6.9.

Viacom’s “Roseanne” (7.2) posted a 14% year-to-year gain but was off substantially from the 8.3 it garnered two weeks earlier (the show was reprocessed the previous week).

The off-Fox reality strip came off two weeks of record ratings, dipping 5% to 5.5.

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