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Newsmags climb in odd week

Most syndicated newsmags were standouts during an atypical week in which many shows were either struck down or propped up by the second half of the Winter Olympics.

The Presidents Day holiday combined with the Olympics to send viewing patterns out of whack for most shows during the week ended Feb. 27, which corresponded with the third full week of the local market sweeps.

Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” reached its highest weekly household rating in more than eight years during the week, with the program scoring double-digit ratings, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings.

“E.T.” jumped 9% to 10.0 from 9.2 for both the corresponding week a year ago and the previous week. The newsmag has not cracked the 10 barrier since February 1986 and has not delivered a higher rating since January 1985.

King World’s “Inside Edition,” which featured a week’s worth of videos shot by Tonya Harding and friends, gained 2% to 8.4 from the previous year.

Par’s “Hard Copy” also gained, soaring 21% to 7.6 from its year-ago mark of 6 .3.

Even KW’s newcomer “American Journal” improved, rising 6% over the previous week to 4.7.

Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” had a mixed week with Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, dipping 4% to 7.9 in year-to-year comparisons but rising 7% from the previous week.

Several talkshows had healthy weeks. Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” (5.6) beat Multimedia’s “Donahue” (5.2) for the second consecutiveweek. The previous week, it also outdistanced Multimedia’s “Sally Jessy Raphael,” which moved back out front in the most recent ratings report.

Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” soared 33% over the previous year to a record 3.2 , Viacom’s “Montel Williams” leaped 24% to 4.1, Columbia’s “Ricki Lake” rose 16% to an all-time high of 4.4.

Of the frosh talkers, Twentieth TV’s “Bertice Berry” added 17% to 2.8, King World’s “Rolonda” jumped 10% to 2.2 and Tribune’s “Can We Shop?” was flat at 0.9 .

Latenight Olympics victims included both Par’s “Arsenio Hall” (down year-to-year 15% to 2.3) and Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” (off 12% to 3.6).

But the most dramatic year-to-year Olympics performances were turned in by two heavily impacted Par hits: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” dropped 18% to 9.5 from 11.6, while “Star Trek: The Next Generation” took a 17% hit, falling to 11. 4 from 13.8.

KW’s “Oprah Winfrey” won the bronze in the sudden-shift competition, plunging 17% to 10.1 from 12.2 a year ago.

Viacom’s off-net sitcom “Roseanne,” meanwhile, puckered up for a hefty 25% increase to 9.0 from last year’s 7.2 rating. And WB’s “Family Matters” (which rose from a 6.6 for non-duplicated viewing to an 8.1 for viewers who watch the same portions of the same repeated episode) had its highest numbers of its premiere season.

Par’s “The Untouchables” had the worst week of some mostly devastated weekly programs, tumbling 45% to 3.8 from its year-ago mark of 6.9.

The “Universal Action Pack” lost 10% to 5.8 from the previous week, while WB’s “Babylon 5” slipped 11% to 4.7.

The weekly gold medal went to All American TV’s “Acapulco H.E.A.T.,” which skyrocketed 44% to 3.9 from last week’s 2.7.

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