King World’s syndication leader “Wheel of Fortune” held firm during the February sweeps but experienced slight erosion in key demographic groups, according to a Petry Television analysis of the Winter Olympics-impacted book.

The long-running gameshow, which is cleared in access in all but five markets , averaged a 17.7 rating/32 share overall and a 17.8/32 in the hour leading into primetime.

Its household numbers held firm year-to-year, but “Wheel” dipped a bit among men 18-34, women 25-54 and men 25-54. In the age 50-plus category, “Wheel” saw its astronomical February ’93 ratings for women (27.0) and men (20.4) hold relatively steady.

“Wheel’s” companion, “Jeopardy!”– with two-thirds of its clearances in access and a majority of the others in early fringe — suffered from some erosion, but the second-place series still turned in a hefty overall rating of 14.2/27.

“Jeopardy!” dropped to a 15.8/27 from a 16.1/26 in access, with the biggest losses coming in the key demographic groups. The 18-34 and 25-54 groups each fell about half a point, while the women categories were also off a few tenths. The program lost about half a point with men over age 50.

Twentieth TV’s off-Fox strip “Cops” (5.4/12 overall) led the reality genre, collaring a 6.6/13 in access (representing 43% of its clearances), a 3.7/12 in late fringe (29%) and a 6.3/13 in early fringe (20%).

The reality series performed best in early fringe, climbing 1.0/2 in households, and boosting key male demos anywhere from 1.2 points (the 18-34 audience) to 1.3 points (25-54) and females by a half point.

‘Patrol’ boost

Genesis’ “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” earned a 2.9/9 overall. The reality series rolled to a 2.3/11 in late fringe time periods, where it is cleared in more than 56% of the U.S. It helped boost the time period average from a 2.0/9 the previous year and increased key male demos somewhat.

In access, which accounts for 22% coverage, the show earned a 4.7/7 — a sizable improvement from the 3.5/5 that stations earned in the time period in February ’93.

MTM’s “Rescue 911″ averaged a3.4/9, with a 4.5/9 in access and a 3.1/10 in early fringe. In the latter category, which accounts for a majority of its clearances, the series fell nearly a full rating point and 2 shares from the February ’93 time period average.

Turning to the key off-net series, Viacom’s “Roseanne” led the pack with a 7. 1/14. It chalked up an 8.0/15 in access (flat with the previous year) and a 7.0/ 14 in early fringe (up slightly from a year ago).

Series has done best with women 18-34 in both dayparts, boosting the demo by about a full point.

Columbia TriStar’s “Married … with Children” scratched up a 5.4/14, with a 6.7/10 in access, a 6.1/11 in early fringe and a 3.5/17in late fringe.

Par’s aging hit “Cheers” (5.3/14) continued to take a few hits of its own. The series saw ratings and demo losses in access and late fringe, but gained slightly with some key demos in early fringe.

Appearing in just 78 markets, MCA TV’s “Coach” averaged a 4.7/11 overall and a 5.9/11 in access. Slated to be rolled out in the rest of the country this fall , “Coach” improved the access time period by a few tenths compared to year-ago figures. It also increased the number of viewers in the 18-34 demo by half a point or more, and did well with the 25-54 crowd (leaping nearly a full point with men).

Warner Bros.’ kids series “Family Matters” scored a 4.2/8, with a 7.3/9 in access and a 4.4/10 in early fringe. In access, the show boosted the time period average by nearly 3 full points from a year ago, sending the kids 2-11 demo soaring to 15.7 from 4.3 and the teen mark climbing to 10.5 from 6.0. It also greatly enhanced the 18-24 and 25-54 demos.

The show’s impact was impressive but less dramatic in early fringe, where it climbed more than half a point. The kids audience jumped to 7.8 from 6.3, while the teen group rose to 6.7 from 5.8.

Ratings information on most weeklies was not available at press time, but their numbers were expected to be heavily impacted by the two weeks of Olympics coverage.

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