Judy,' 'Real TV' buck early downward spiral

The June swoon came a week early for syndicated shows this year — national ratings for most strips and weeklies were down in the first full week after the May sweeps.

Worldvision Enterprises’ “Judge Judy” and Paramount’s “Real TV” bucked the Nielsen downtrend for the week ending June 1. “Judge Judy” summoned a 9% week-to-week gain for a 2.4 rating. “Real TV’s” reality clip package pulled in its highest national rating since February sweep with a 3.5.

‘Woman’ tops ‘Wheel’

Perennial syndie chart-topper “Wheel of Fortune” notched a rare loss to the 1990 theatrical “Pretty Woman” from Buena Vista Television’s “Buena Vista I” movie package. The Julia Roberts/Richard Gere comedy garnered a 13.0 national Nielsen household rating.

King World’s “Wheel” came in second with a 10.9, marking a 3% increase over the same week last year. “Jeopardy!” inched up 1% over the previous week to take third place with an 8.7.

Talkshows were mostly talked out after the stunt-filled May sweeps. King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” dropped 10% from the previous week, from a 7.8 to a 7.0, which still marked a 3% increase over last year. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” dipped 2% over the previous week to a 4.7, while Paramount’s “Montel Williams” climbed 2% to a 4.6.

Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” was on par with previous week and year-ago numbers with a 4.4. Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” and Universal’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” were off 5% week-to-week, scoring a 4.1 and 4.0, respectively. Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” gained 3% over the previous week with a 3.7. “Maury Povich” (3.6) and “Jerry Springer” (3.1) each fell off 3% from previous week averages, although “Jerry Springer” was up 11% over the last year while Povich was down 3%.

‘Home’ improved

In the off-network sitcom arena, Buena Vista’s “Home Improvement” bounced back from the previous week’s season low of 8.1 to an 8.2, marking a 9% increase over last year.

Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” dropped a notch to a 7.2 but still paced 13% ahead of last year. Twentieth Television’s “The Simpsons” fell 8% in the week-to-week contest but gained the same amount in year-ago comparisons.

The rocky road for firstrun magazine strips didn’t get any smoother last week, with King World’s “Inside Edition” and “American Journal” dropping 18% and 12%, respectively, from their year-ago averages. “Access Hollywood,” Twentieth’s upstart entertainment contender to “Entertainment Tonight,” slipped another 7% to post a lackluster 2.6, in spite of May sweep wins in New York and Los Angeles.

As usual, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” led the pack with a 5.7. Par’s “Hard Copy” gained a little ground with a 4.1, its highest showing since March and a 3% increase over last year. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” fell 6% week-to-week from a 3.5 to a 3.3.

Universal’s “Xena: Warrior Princess” held on to the weekly syndie crown in spite of an 8% week-to-week slide from a 6.1 to a 5.6. Universal’s other mythic hero hour, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” ranked second with a 5.1, followed by Par’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” which fell 14% in year-to-year standings to a 4.9.

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