‘Hercules’ bests ‘Trek’ in syndies

The crew from Paramount’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” managed to head off the Cardassians, but the Trekkers were overpowered by Hercules during the week ended July 30.

MCA TV’s freshman series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” became the top weekly action hour with a 10% jump to 5.3, according to the Nielsen national syndication barter rankings.

The rare win for the strongman – his first since early June – represents two straight weeks of growth. “Hercules” was the only top weekly to post gains and led the genre in younger female demos.

Poor July sweeps

Overall, weeklies saw the most action in a period in which a number of syndie shows were dragged down by weak summer programming – it was the poorest July sweeps for t he networks in at least 15 years.

“Deep Space Nine” wilted 8% to 4.8, its worst rating of the year and in recent memory. The program, which has steadily fallen this summer from a high of 7.1 five weeks earlier, is 19% off its year-ago mark of 5.9.

It also was beaten by both “Hercules” and All American’s “Baywatch” in the key female demos, but continued to lead in the all-important male demos.

‘Baywatch’ sinks

“Baywatch,” meanwhile, sank 22% to 5.1 from the previous week and 18% from the corresponding week last July. In fact, most weeklies saw double-digit decreases.

Magazine strips were mixed, but talkshows managed to resist the overall downward trend. Ten chat programs climbed for the week and most improved over the previous year.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” was an exception, however, losing 12% from its year-ago mark of 8.3. But it still gained 4% on the week to 7.3 and led the pack. The show reportedly is eyeing a few weeks of remotes from its two biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles, in the coming season – a move that should help boost its ratings.

Columbia TriStar’s double-run “Ricki Lake” gained 4% to 5.7, while leaping 14% from last year’s 5.0 and beating “Oprah” in women 18-34.

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