Sun and hoops sink syndies, rout ‘Rush’

The advent of daylight savings time, college basketball finals in several key markets and the appearance of the not-ready-for-May sweeps players left most syndicated shows reeling during the ratings week ended April 10.

Among the casualties was ITC’s hourlong primetime special “Secrets of the National Enquirer,” which remained a secret to most viewers.

The program, believed to be a backdoor pilot for a regular series, inked a paltry 3.6 rating in 126 markets covering 84% of the country, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings.

But the biggest news was in late night. Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” suffered its heaviest one-week loss of the season, plunging 21% to 3.3 from a fat 4.2 in its last outing. Paramount’s soon-to-be-defunct “Arsenio Hall Show” eased 5% to 2.0.

The newsmags headed south during the week.

But the Par leader “Entertainment Tonight” showed the mildest decline, off 2% to 8.2. Conversely, King World’s “Inside Edition” took the biggest hit in the genre, falling 10% to a second-place 6.6.

Par’s “Hard Copy” slid 9% to 6.1, Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” fell 6% to 5.8 and KW newcomer “American Journal” dipped 7% to 4.0.

Among the new talkshows, Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” was the only strip to show any improvement. Its gain of 5% to 4.1 put it only two-tenths of a point behind Buena Vista TV’s “Live with Regis & Kathy Lee,” which is considered to be in the top tier of talkers.

Twentieth’s “Bertice Berry” neared its season low, slipping 8% to 2.2, while KW’s “Rolonda” faded 5% to 2.1.

The only returning chatshow to show any improvement was Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones,” which surged ahead 12% to 2.9.

Weekly series, meanwhile, were all over the ratings map.

In the plus column, KW’s “Wheel of Fortune Weekend” broke out of its lengthy ratings depression by soaring 40% to 7.7.

Rysher’s “Highlander” bolted ahead 30% to 4.3, while MCA TV’s “Universal Action Pack” regained its footing. It raced ahead 20% to 6.0 after three consecutive losing weeks.

Rysher’s new “Thunder in Paradise” (3.9) gained back 11% of the audience it lost the previous week, but it is still 23% off its two-hour debut numbers.

The syndicator’s recently introduced “Robocop” appears to be in big trouble, with ratings declining at an arresting rate since the series premiered three weeks ago at 5.4. This time out, “Robocop” got pounded for another 10% loss to 3 .5.

WB’s “Babylon 5” remained in a sinking orbit, falling for the fifth straight week. The show, which is in reruns, lost 17%, landing at 3.4.

BVTV’s weekly newsmag “The Crusaders,” which aired a rerun against the basketball championships, fell 14% to 3.6. Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” docked at 7.2 for a 14% weekly loss.

Samuel Goldwyn’s long-running “American Gladiators” rebounded slightly during the week to 3.0 from 2.7, but its ratings muscle has withered in recent weeks.

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