It’s a ‘Rosie’ top ten

Show hits new syndie high in strong frame

In a week when frigid weather kept viewers inside and glued to their sets, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” maintained its hot streak the week ending Jan. 12.

With a little help from pal Madonna’s appearance, the Warner Bros. talkshow cracked the top 10 of all syndicated shows for the first time ever. “Rosie” powered 29% from the prior week to a 6.2 rating, its best yet, according to Nielsen. In the metered markets, “Rosie” jumped a full 61% from its lead-in.

“Rosie” wasn’t the only show to shine, though. Most of syndication bounced back from the holiday blues with a vengeance, with every magazine show and several new strips hitting season highs.

Oprah stays on top of talk

Still leading the daytime talk pack, King World’s “Oprah” gained 7% for the week to a 9.1, up 8% from the same week last year. In third place behind “Oprah” and “Rosie,” Paramount’s “Montel Williams” rose 15% to a 5.3, an impressive 18% over last year.

Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” also climbed 15% to 4.6, but the show was still down 10% from the same week last year. Universal’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” rallied 13% to 4.5 and had the biggest year-to-year gain of 22%. Par’s “Maury Povich” was flat for the week at 4.3 and up 8% over its year-ago mark.

One other talkshow had its best performance this season — Twentieth TV’s “Gordon Elliott,” which swelled 27% to a 1.9. However, “Gordon” also had the biggest talk drop-off from last year, 21%.

Rookies shine, too

Aside from “Rosie,” several other new firstrun strips had their best numbers of the season. With three early fringe upgrades kicking in, Par’s “Real TV” grew 9% to a 3.6 season high. Close behind, Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” gained 10% to its season high of 3.4.

All the veteran magazines hit season highs, too. Leading them, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” rose 13% to a 7.0, which was down 10% from last year. The only magazine that didn’t fall off from its year-ago mark, though, was Warner Bros.’ “Extra,” which rose 12% on the week to 3.8 and was flat year-to-year. The biggest year-to-year drop came from Par’s “Hard Copy,” which rose 7% for the week to 4.4, but fell 29% from last year’s level.

At the top of the syndie chart, King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” inched up 7% to a 13.7, also a season high, despite falling 7% behind last year. “Jeopardy!” (11.3) also improved 12% for the week to a season high, but lost 6% from last year.

A couple of off-net sitcoms also turned in their best performances this season. Columbia TriStar Television Distri-bution’s “Seinfeld” rose 16% to a season high of 8.7, also 5% ahead of last year. Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” had its best week ever, a 7.1. Buena Vista’s “Home Improvement” also grew 16% to 11.0, which was 1% ahead of last year. CTTD’s new “Mad About You” gained 4% to a best-yet 5.1.

Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” led the firstrun weeklies for the first time in five weeks, soaring 22% to 6.0, which was still down 12% from last year. Universal’s “Hercules” grew 16% to 5.8, off 2% from a year ago. Universal’s “Xena” powered 6% to 5.4, up 13% over last year.

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