Falling back to TV

Syndie ratings get boost from time change

In keeping with tradition, the end of daylight saving time has prompted America’s Nielsen families to spend more time watching TV, particularly in dayparts dominated by syndie skeins.

With darkness falling earlier and cold weather blanketing much of the country, the latest national syndie ratings report indicates that millions more viewers sought the warmth of the electronic fireplace in the week ending Nov. 2. That was the first week after the nation turned its clocks back an hour to return to standard time and the week that marked the start of the November sweep.

Talkshows record gains

Most veteran talkshows posted a 3% to 10% gain in household ratings over the previous week. King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” was the only yakker to slip, albeit a scant 1%, but she still remained far ahead of the pack with a 7.2. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” notched a 5% increase to a 4.6.

Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” hit a new high for the season, climbing 7% week-to-week to a 4.5. Universal TV’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” also set a new high for the season, inching up 2% to a 4.3. U’s “Jerry Springer” was flat at a 4.0, as was Paramount’s “Montel Williams” with a 3.8.

It was season-high numbers all around for Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones,” up 3% to a 3.6; Par’s “Maury Povich,” up 3% to a 3.1; Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake,” soaring 11% to a 3.0; and Tribune Entertainment’s “Geraldo Rivera,” up 5% to a 2.0.

‘Court’ convenes new high

Among freshman syndie strips, the ratings picture was brightest for Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court,” which hit a new high with 4% week-to-week growth to a 2.4.

Eyemark Entertainment’s “Martha Stewart Living” was flat at a 2.7; Eyemark’s “Gayle King” was off 5% to a 2.0. “The Home Team With Terry Bradshaw,” already on the disabled list, climbed 11% from a 0.9 to a 1.0. Worldvision’s “Pictionary” was flat at a 1.3.

Access magazine shows all posted healthy gains as more viewers were drawn to the tube in the hour before primetime. Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” grew 7% week-to-week to a 6.3, marking its highest rating since March.

Warner Bros. “Extra,” which notched its 1,000th show on Nov. 13, soared 13% to a 4.5. King World’s “Inside Edition” inched up 2% to a 4.3. Par’s “Hard Copy” was up 9% to 3.5, its highest number of the season. King World’s “American Journal” rose 8% to a 2.8. “Access Hollywood,” from NBC and Twentieth TV, leaped 22% to a 2.2.

Elsewhere among reality-based programs, Worldvision’s hot-shot “Judge Judy” hiked another 10% to reach a new all-time high, a 3.2. Paramount’s “Real TV” held onto its lead, however, staying flat at a 3.3.

At the top of the syndie charts were King World’s durable gameshows, “Wheel of Fortune,” up 11% to a 12.5; and “Jeopardy!,” up 5% to a 9.9.

In the off-network field, Paramount’s “Frasier” saw its number climb for the third week in a row, ballooning 8% to a 5.3. All told, the show is up 15% over the past three weeks. Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” notched a 10% gain to an 8.7 and Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” was up 7% to a 7.8.

‘X-Files’ leads weeklies

Among syndie weeklies, “The X-Files” continued to shine in reruns. Despite dropping 10% from the previous week to a 7.9, Twentieth TV’s “The X-Files” remained the top syndie show, firstrun or off-net, in the key demographic categories of adults 18-49 (5.4) and adults 18-34 (5.4).

Universal TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess” sashayed up to a 6.0, marking a 20% jump over the previous week. U’s “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” muscled a 12% gain to a 5.6. Tailing “Hercules” was another off-net drama, Col TriStar’s “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which popped a huge 29% week-to-week to a 5.3.

Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was up 6% to a 5.1. Tribune Entertainment’s freshman drama “Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict” weighed in with a 4.2, down 14% from its highly rated season premiere.

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