‘Carnie’ debut a bad sign for frosh syndie talkers

In a bad omen for a spate of new talkshows, Warner Bros.’ “Carnie Wilson” – with the best clearances and ratings of any new talkshow in metered markets – bowed nationally with a four-day average of a 1.9 rating during the Labor Day week ended Sept.10.

“Carnie,” debuting in the Nielsen national barter rankings a week earlier than other new competitors in the crowded genre, finished No. 13 out of 16 active syndicated talkshows. Appearing in 133 markets covering 84% of the U.S., the talkshow fell off slightly from its 2.2 rating in the metered markets.

A number of returning talkers made their season debuts as well.

Multimedia’s “Donahue,” stung by its cancellation on WNBC New York, got whacked with a 16% decline from the previous week to 2.6, its lowest national rating in memory. Compared to last year at this time, “Donahue” is down 32%.

Another Multimedia talker, “Rush Limbaugh,” also hit an all-time low with a 9% drop to 2.1. The conservative talkshow host has taken the worst year-to-year pounding of any program in the field, plunging 42%.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” kicked off its new season in her usual position at the head of the talk parade. “Oprah” was up 1% to 7.3, but still 8% below her year-ago mark of 7.9.

‘Jenny’ jumps

Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” and Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones,” both of which are now double run in the major markets, tied for second with a distant 4.2. “Jenny” was running 31% ahead of last year while “Ricki” declined 11%.

Elsewhere, Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons,” with its clearances at 89% of the country, finished as the highest-rated off-net strip for the first time. It climbed 2% to 5.0.

None of the other top off-net sitcoms gained ground.

Premiering in eighth-place among sitcoms was Buena Vista TV’s “Blossom,” which debuted at a lukewarm 2.2 in 113 markets covering 75% of the U.S.

BVTV’s “Dinosaurs” were discovered in 13th place among the off-nets with a 1.2 rating.

In the magazine strip genre, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” was the only show to gain ground, inching up 2% to 6.4 and dominating the field.

The series faced preemptions and disruptions from the holiday, Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon and the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Overall, it was off 16% year-to-year.

‘Extra’ skid

WB’s “Extra – The Entertainment Magazine” stumbled into last place among magazines, skidding 18% to 3.3 and flirting with its worst ratings ever after being downgraded out of access in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

King World’s “Inside Edition” fell 4% to 5.1, but wound up in second place anyway as Par’s “Hard Copy” crashed 11% to 4.9. Versus a year ago, “Edition” is off 12% and “Copy” is down 17%.

Twentieth’s “A Current Affair” concluded its final week of the 1994-95 season with its lowest mark in memory, falling 15% to 3.5, off 34% from a year ago.

KW’s “American Journal” matched its lowest ratings of last season, fading 6% to 3.4 in the week prior to its season preem. It is down 19% year-to-year.

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