‘Geraldo’ a winner as syndie shows slip

After two weeks of unusually high ratings, most syndicated shows headed south in the week leading into the sweeps.

Geraldo marches on

The only significant strip to show a gain in the Nielsen national barter rankings for the week ended Jan. 30, Tribune’s “Geraldo,” hit its highest ratings mark of the season.

The talker jumped 2% to a 4.7, its fifth consecutive weekly increase.

On the weekly side, the two-hour premiere of “TekWar,” the first of MCA TV’s ambitious new weekly primetime “Universal Action Pack” telepix, garnered a hefty 8.8 rating in 95% of the country.

That put it in second place behind the Paramount powerhouse “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (down 1% to an 11.8 rating in 99% of the U.S.).

And Warner Bros.’ new weekly series “Babylon 5” got off to a strong start, scoring a 6.9 with 93% coverage, several notches behind Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (off 6% to a 7.5 in 99% of the country).

There was little else for syndicators to crow about during the week.

Par’s magazine “Entertainment Tonight” slipped 6% to 9.1, while King World’s newsmag leader “Inside Edition” fell 3% to 8.5.

The “E.T.” companion “Hard Copy” experienced the biggest drop in the tabloid newsmag category, down 5% to 7.7. But it still finished ahead of Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair,” which sank 4% to 7.1.

KW’s frosh strip “American Journal” dropped 4% to 4.9, while BVTV’s weekly “The Crusaders” declined 12% to a 4.5 after two record weeks because of a Super Bowl special preemption on the NBC-owned stations.

The biggest loser during the week in a weak talk group was Par’s “The Maury Povich Show,” which plummeted 21% to 4.1.

It also had the dubious distinction of being the worst performer of any major program in syndication.

Talkers flat

Elsewhere, Buena Vista TV’s “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” dove 17% to 4.8, while KW’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” fell 16% to 9.0.

Multimedia’s “Donahue” decreased 15% to 5.6, Group W’s “Vicki!” sank 14% to 3 .0 and Twentieth TV’s “Bertice Berry” slid 13% to 2.6.

The list of casualties extended all the way down the list: Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer” was down 12% to 2.3, and that company’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” declined 10% to 5.3. WB’s “Jenny Jones” was off 10% to 2.8 and Viacom’s “Montel Williams” descended 10% to 3.7.

Columbia’s “Ricki Lake” tumbled 8% to 3.5, while KW’s newcomer “Rolonda” remained flat at 2.3, tied for last place with “Springer.”

The other mid-season entry, Trib’s Joan Rivers-hosted home shopping series “Can We Shop?,” was marked down 20% from its premiere number to a reduced 1.0.

The lights also went out in latenight, with Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” deflating 12% to 3.7, while Par’s “Arsenio Hall”– which had been in reruns the previous week because of the earthquake — back with original episodes but remaining flat at a lowly 2.0 in 94% of the U.S.

Weeklies were also overwhelmingly weak over the Super Bowl weekend, with All American TV’s “Acapulco H.E.A.T.” cooling down 18% to 3.1; WB’s “Time Trax” taking a licking with a 16% drop to 4.1; Rysher’s “The Highlander” losing 15% to 3.9; Par’s “The Untouchables” dropping 15% to 3.9; and “Baywatch” sinking 12% to 4.5.

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