Flying leap up charts for ‘Oprah’

Oprah Winfrey received a year-end present during the week ended Dec. 19, with her top-rated King World talker leaping 25% from the previous week’s historically low levels.

Nielsen national syndicated barter rankings, which advertisers use to track their national buys, show the reigning talkshow queen’s show soaring to an 8.9 from a 7.1 and her clearance level back up to 99% from 96% of the country. “Oprah” also returned to its customary third-place ranking.

The only other top-10 show to experience a big week-to-week leap in the pre-holiday period dominated by specials and preemptions was Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair.”

The tabmag jumped 11% to 7.2 from 6.5 and overtook Paramount’s “Hard Copy” (6 .9), which had defeated “Affair” in the previous two ratings reports.

KW’s “Inside Edition” scored a 7.4 during the week, while Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” continued to easily outdistance the newsmag competition with an 8.0.

KW’s frosh newsmag “American Journal” inched up a tick to 4.2, while Buena Vista Television’s weekly advocacy series and strip hopeful “The Crusaders” posted a healthy 14% gain over the previous week to 4.0 from 3.5.

Other closely watched syndie shows showing movement during the week included All American TV’s weekly series “Baywatch,” which sank 15% to 5.8, and Warner Bros.’ off-net sitcom “Family Matters,” slipping half a rating point to a 5.8 (and 6.8 in the gross average rating column that encompasses duplicated viewing).

Twentieth TV’s off-Fox reality series “Cops” slipped to a 5.6 from the previous week when it matched its record mark of 5.8.

In the kids’ arena, Fox Children’s Network’s in-pattern airings of kids fare once again proved unbeatable, with “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Animaniacs” scoring season-high numbers among key demographics.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” led all kids weekday programs for the 11th week with a 7.3 rating among kids 2-11.

“Animaniacs” led the 6-17 group with a 6.1, and tied its best rating (6.6) for the third straight week with kids 2-11. Also, “Batman” hit a season-to-date high among “tweens” with a 5.6 rating.

BVTV led the syndicated animated race, with “Bonkers” capturing a 6.0 in kids 2-11, outpacing Fox’s “Tiny Toon Adventures” at 5.2. “Bonkers” also finished fourth overall, and first in syndication, with a 4.8 among “tweens.”

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