In the last of the atypical year-end holiday weeks, “Real TV” continued to prove it is for real by pulling in its best household rating ever (3.3) in the syndication ratings for the week ending Jan. 5.

While extending its sudden domination of the first-year series strips, Paramount’s “Real TV” came in as the highest-rated new series for the fifth straight week (tying Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” one of those weeks) and, with the 3.3, has jumped 57% in audience since its 2.1 launch rating three months ago.

It was, however, a weird week, one in which King World chart-toppers “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” aired only twice each (Monday and Friday) and “Inside Edition,” “Hard Copy” and “Entertainment Tonight” only three times each.

But the week was a good one for off-net sitcoms, with “Home Improvement” jumping 9% to 9.5 after a season low the week before. “Seinfeld” likewise rebounded from its low of the season, chalking up a 10% gain to 7.5 while “The Simpsons” and “Mad About You” each leaped 17% – “The Simpsons” to 7.3, “Mad About You” to 4.9., tying its season high.

Among the talk pack, King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” tallied 8.5, a modest gain from last week’s 8.4, while WBDTD’s “Rosie O’Donnell” slipped to a 4.8 for second (down 2%). Par’s “Montel Williams” was strong, rising 10% to 4.6 and third, while Warner Bros. TV’s “Jenny Jones” and Paramount’s “Maury Povich” tied at 4.3 (a season best for Povich).

Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee” plunged 13% for the week, sliding from 4.6 to 4.0 and a three-way tie for sixth overall among talkers, with U’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” and CTTD’s “Ricki Lake” – a 5% drop for “Sally” and 3% rise for “Ricki.”

Par’s “Entertainment Tonight,” as usual, paced the entertainment mags, rising 17% for the week to a 6.2 to outdistance Warner Bros. TV’s “Extra” and “Access Hollywood.”

King World’s “Inside Edition” gained 9% for the week (to 5.1), while Par’s “Hard Copy” rose 11%, the best for any tabloid mag during the week. It finished with a 4.1 average. “Bzzz!” showed the biggest improvement among gameshows, surging 29% to 1.8.

Universal TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess” took the top spot among the weekly pack for the first time in three weeks with a 13% jump for the week to 5.1, with its U brother “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” a tick back at 5.0. “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” soared 20% to take third at 4.9, with “Baywatch” grabbing fourth with 4.8 (up 12%).

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