Age is served during declining syndie sesh

Predictably, syndicated talkshows appealing to the younger crowd declined as kids and teens geared up for school and a long Labor Day weekend.

The beneficiaries: older-skewing talkers, which rose during the rather subdued week ended Sept. 3, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings.

Both Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” and Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” were hit, with “Ricki” sinking for the fourth time in the past five weeks (and off 8% from a year ago at 4.5). “Jenny,” meanwhile, suffered its fourth consecutive weekly decline (but still finished 34% ahead of its average last year).

Consequently, King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” widened the gap on the genre with a 7.2 rating, flat from the previous week and down 13% from a year ago, when it did not face O.J. Simpson trial coverage daily.

Oprah tops women

“Oprah” swept the key female demos, while men flocked to a National Geographic special, which ranked second for all age groups.

Buena Vista TV’s “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” got an early start on the new season. With its original fare vying against reruns, it zoomed ahead 24% from the previous week and 14% from a year ago.

Others gaining ground were Paramount’s “Maury Povich,” up 5% to 4.2 and 8% year-to-year; Multimedia’s “Sally Jessy Raphael,” ahead 5% to 4.1 but down 5% from last year; Tribune’s “Geraldo,” rallying 3% to 3.4 but off 11% from a year ago; and Multimedia’s “Donahue,” gaining 7% to 3.1 as it braces for next week’s ratings reflecting its cancellation in New York (it was down 18% year-to-year).

All American’s “Richard Bey,” which was recently rolled out nationally, jumped 18% to 2.0.

Mags fall off table

Tabloid magazines, meanwhile, continued to show steep year-to-year losses.

Par’s “Hard Copy” (5.5), off 23% from a year ago, maintained a slim lead over KW’s “Inside Edition” (5.3), which slipped 12% from last year.

Twentieth’s “A Current Affair” (4.1) broke a three-week losing streak with a 5% increase, but still lagged 28% behind its year-ago numbers.

KW’s “American Journal” was flat (3.6) and off 12% from its year-ago rating.

Of the increasingly tabloid-oriented entertainment magazines, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” garnered a 6.3 and WB’s “Extra – The Entertainment Magazine” pulled a 4.0.

In the weekly realm, the MCA TV hero “Hercules” appeared in a two-hour special that was good enough to capture a first-place 5.5 rating. Ratings for Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” were vaporized with a 12% decline to 4.1 and a 16% year-to-year loss.

All American’s “Baywatch” dampened 9% to 4.8 and got soaked for a 27% plunge from last year, while Genesis’ “Renegade” crashed into a 3.8 rating, down 16% from the previous week and off 7% from a year ago.

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