Syndie shows ring in new year with big numbers

Most syndicated shows toasted the new year with drastically improved ratings, according to Nielsen national barter rankings for the holiday week ended Jan. 2.

During the period, which was skewed by atypical viewing patterns and preemptions, Twentieth TV’s off-Fox series “Cops” proved to be the best-performing reality strip with an all-time high mark of 6.1, up 11% from the previous week.

It also grabbed the highest demographics in two of the three key age groups, averaging a 4.3 with adults 18-34 and 4.2 with adults 18-49.

Newsmags jump

Among firstrun newsmags, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” jumped 10% to 7. 7, King World’s “Inside Edition” 6% to 7.1 and Par’s “Hard Copy” 5% to 6.5.

Unlike the other newsmags, Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” excluded the low-rated New Year’s Eve episode to finish the week flat at 7.2.

Only two top-10 shows declined: Columbia’s off-Fox sitcom “Married … With Children” slipped 6% to 6.7 and Par’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” dipped 2% to 8.0.

‘Deep Space’ strong

The best showings in the top 10 were Par’s “Deep Space Nine,” up 23% to 7.9, and King World’s “Jeopardy!,” rising 13% to 13.1.

KW’s “Oprah” leaped 12% to 10.3, heading a strong talkshow group. In fact, every member of the chatter club posted gains during the week, except Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” which eased 6% to 4.9.

Multimedia Entertainment’s “Jerry Springer” had the biggest gain of any talkshow (or any other syndicated program), soaring 29% to 2.7.

And Viacom’s “Montel Williams” reached a high of 4.0, an 11% improvement from its previous record scored last February. The series jumped 18% over the previous week and was up 38% from its season premiere mark of 2.9 in September.

Frosh chat’s banner week

In a rare occurrence, every one of the frosh talkers entered 1994 with their best ratings weeks.

Even KW’s canceled “Les Brown” shot up 19% to 2.5. As expected, Columbia’s “Ricki Lake” gained 17% to 3.5 and Twentieth TV’s “Bertice Berry” added 21% to 2 .9.

Rush slips

Turning to the latenight race, Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” came away with a rather conservative 3.2, down 6% from the previous Christmas week, while Par’s “Arsenio” gained 4% to 2.4.

New Year’s specials dotted the landscape, too.

Col’s Merv Griffin celebration led the way with a 2.9 in 95% of the country, while Raycom’s inspiring Freedom Bowl matchup between USC and the U. of Utah resulted in an 80th-ranked 1.8 rating.

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