‘Work’ pic surprise syndie rating star

Maybe it was just a reaction to the summer heat, but the wacky Charlie Sheen-Emilio Estevez 1990 comedy “Men at Work” toiled its way into the No. 3 spot during the week ended Aug. 1, according to the Nielsen national syndication rankings.

The movie, distributed by Tribune Entertainment, scored with a big ratings payday. Its 9.5 was good enough to shove King World’s traditional heavyweight “The Oprah Winfrey Show” into fourth place with 9.4 (up 3% from the previous week).

Only KW’s game tandem of “Wheel of Fortune” (rising 3% to 13.1) and “Jeopardy!” (down a couple notches to 11.3) outpaced “Men at Work.”

Other theatricals also performed well. Paramount’s 1989 Ted Danson feature “Cousins” tied KW’s “Inside Edition” for 10th place with 6.6, while Twentieth TV’s 1984 Michael Keaton movie “Johnny Dangerously” lived on the edge with a 5.0 mark.

‘Trek’ soars

Among the syndie series, the biggest winner during the week was Par’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which skyrocketed 14% to 9.0.

Others experiencing healthy gains were All American TV’s “Baywatch” and Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair,” both of which jumped 11% to 6.1. Par’s “The Untouchables” was another pistol, shooting up 29% to 5.4.

In the talkshow realm, Multimedia had a good week. Its “Sally Jessy Raphael” was up 9% to 6.0 and companion “Donahue” inched up to 5.2.

Par’s “The Maury Povich Show” rose a tick to 4.4 and Buena Vista Television’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” gained 7% to 4.3.

Group W’s “Vicki!” continued to climb, up another 10% to a robust 3.1, and Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” tied the high-water mark it set two weeks earlier with 2.7 (12% above the previous week).

Another WB show, “Jane Whitney,” hit an all-time high with 2.4, a 12% week-to-week hike and 100% over its 1.2 rating when it debuted in January. Trib’s “The Joan Rivers Show,” meanwhile, moved up a notch to 1.9.

In the late night race, Par’s “The Arsenio Hall Show” celebrated a 17% weekly increase to 2.8, while Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” was flat at 2.9.

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