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SYNDIES LOSE STEAM

'Roseanne,' 'Extra' buck post-sweeps trend

As promotion dwindled and reruns set in, most syndicated shows took a Nielsen nosedive the first full post-sweeps week ending March 9.

Of the top-10 off-net sitcoms, only Carsey Werner’s “Roseanne” bucked the downtrend, rising just 3% to 3.7, which was still off a full 27% from its year-ago mark. Most shows eroded from last year, in part because of inflated viewer level during the corresponding week last year, when there was unusually bad weather in much of the country.

Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” dipped 8% to 9.9 and, for only the second time this year, fell behind last year’s level, by 2%. Columbia TriStar TV Distribution’s “Seinfeld” dropped 2% to 8.3 and remained even with last year’s level. Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” fell 4% to 6.9, but managed an 8% increase over last year.

King World’s gameshows held the top two spots on the chart. “Wheel of Fortune” lost 4% to 12.5, down 3% from last year. “Jeopardy!” faded 6% to 10.1, off 9% year-to-year.

Three mags increased, but only Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution’s “Extra” grew compared with its year-ago numbers. “Extra” rose 3% for the week and 9% from last year to 3.7. Also showing weekly increases were Paramount Domestic TV’s “Hard Copy,” which rose 2% to 4.2, off 19% from last year; and King World’s “American Journal,” which climbed 9% to 3.5, off 10% from last year.

Only two talkers perked up for the week: Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” and Universal Domestic TV’s “Jerry Springer.” “Live” inched up 2% to 4.2, off 14% from last year. “Jerry Springer” surged 14% to 3.3 and added 6% from last year. “Springer” also jumped a phenomenal 58% from its metered-market lead-in. Two talkers grew from one year ago: Par’s “Montel Williams” and Universal’s “Sally Jessy Raphael.” “Montel” dipped 2% from last week to 4.8, but was up 14% from last year. “Sally” also sank 9% for the week to 4.1, but grew 11% from last year.

Par’s “Real TV’ led the pack of new strips, despite falling 8% to 3.3. Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” was steady at 3.0. Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” stayed at its 2.2 season high for a third straight week. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution’s “In Person with Maureen O’Boyle” also was flat at 1.5.

CTTD’s “Dating/Newlywed Hour” remained at its lowest rating ever, a 1.5, for the second straight week, and it also lost 19% of its metered-market lead-in. Conversely, Rysher’s “Strange Universe” rebounded 8% to 1.4, and matched its season high. Tribune Entertainment’s “Bzzz!” also jumped back 18% to 1.3.

All top-five weeklies declined, including Universal’s action hours “Xena” and “Hercules,” which aired episodes without its two lead stars. “Xena” led the pack, despite a 10% fall for the week to 6.3, which was still an impressive 31% ahead of its year-ago mark.

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