Is “Jerry Springer” in a league of his own?

Not quite, but Universal TV’s syndie talkshow is hot enough ratings-wise to tie with “Rosie O’Donnell” and score a record-high national Nielsen household rating for the second consecutive sweep week.

“Jerry Springer” scored a 3.9 for the week ending July 27, according to Nielsen’s latest syndication ratings report. The show, airing all originals against “Rose’s” week of reruns, grew 5% from the previous week’s 3.7 and was up a whopping 56% from its performance during the same period last year.

Although most syndie strips were trounced in July ’96 by NBC’s coverage of the summer Olympic games, “Jerry Springer” posted the strongest year-to-year growth of any talkshow. Only his Universal stablemate “Sally Jessy Raphael” came close with a 22% spike over her year-ago mark. For Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell,” the 3.9 marked the show’s lowest household rating since last October.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” stayed aloft the yak pack with a 6.9, a 9% dropoff from the previous week. Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” and Paramount’s “Montel Williams” tied for second with a 4.5. U’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” was close behind with a 4.4.

Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” matched its highest rating of the season, climbing 5% from the previous week for a 4.2. Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” inched up 3% for a 4.0. Heading up the rear behind “Jerry” and “Rosie” were “Maury Povich” with a 3.5 and Tribune Entertainment’s “Geraldo Rivera” with a 2.1.

Next to “Jerry Springer,” the other syndie success story of the summer is Worldvision’s freshman strip “Judge Judy,” which hit a record high rating for the week of July 21. With last week’s 2.5, the quirky courtshow soared 79% over its premiere week average of a 1.4.

Despite “Judge Judy’s” gain, Paramount’s “Real TV” led the reality pack with a 3% week-to-week gain to a 3.0. Twentieth TV’s “Cops” was up 4% to a 2.8, while its partner, “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol,” dipped 2% to a 2.1. MGM’s “LAPD” fell from a 1.5 to a 1.3 and Rysher Entertainment’s “Strange Universe” earned a 1.2.

Most of the other strip rankings changed little. King World’s gameshows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” topped the syndie charts with a 10.0 and 8.7, respectively.

Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” led the magazine show field with a 5.2, flat from week-to-week. King World’s “Inside Edition” scored a 4.3. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” edged ahead of Par’s “Hard Copy” with a 3.6 and 3.4, respectively. King World’s “American Journal” was off 3% (2.9) while Twentieth TV/NBC’s “Access Hollywood” inched up 4% to a 2.5.

Off-network sitcoms all gained ground from week-to-week, led by “Home Improvement,” “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons.” On the weekly side, All American TV’s “Baywatch” (4.3) bested Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (4.2) for the first time all year. Universal’s “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” posted double-digit week-to-week increases to a 5.9 and 5.4, respectively.

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