‘X’ marks top syndie spot

Drama debuts in first among weekly syndies

The empirical data is indisputable: “The X-Files” is a syndie monster.

In its broadcast syndication debut, “The X-Files” weighed in with a stunning 8.8 national household rating, according to Nielsen’s syndie ratings report for the week ending Oct. 26. Reruns of Fox’s cult-fave sci-fi drama, distributed by Twentieth TV, air Monday-Friday in primetime on Fox’s FX cabler and on weekends on Fox O&Os and other broadcast TV stations.

“The X-Files” performance in week one of its broadcast rerun lifecycle was strong enough to make it the highest-rated debut of any syndie skein since the September 1993 premiere of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” More impressively, it ranks as the highest-rated bow of an off-network property since “The Cosby Show” ‘s syndie opener in October 1988.

Better still were the demographic numbers. “The X-Files” knocked off all syndie skeins, off-net and firstrun, in the key demo categories of adults 18-34, where it earned a 6.3 rating, adults 18-49 (6.4) and adults 25-54 (6.6). In households, the show came in third to King World’s long-dominant gameshow strips “Wheel of Fortune” (11.3) and “Jeopardy!” (9.4).

Clobbers other weeklies

“The X-Files” was by far the top syndie weekly program for the ratings report, trailed by Universal TV’s firstrun hits “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” which were tied at a 5.0. Paramount’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” followed with a 4.8.

“Walker, Texas Ranger,” another offnetwork drama with a staggered cable/broadcast rerun window, continued to flex its muscle, pulling in a 4.1. Twentieth TV’s “NYPD Blue,” which also does double-duty on cable and broadcast, landed a 3.6.

Back in the firstrun arena, All American TV’s “Baywatch” splashed down at a 3.4, followed by Eyemark Entertainment’s “Pensacola: Wings of Gold” with a 3.1. Buena Vista TV’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Series” saw its numbers grow 7% week-to-week to a 3.0. Ratings for week two of last month’s syndie drama sensation, “Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict,” were delayed due to glitches in Nielsen’s tabulation process.

‘Stewart,’ ‘Springer’ gain

Among freshman firstrun strips, Eyemark’s “Martha Stewart Living” hit a new high, climbing 8% to a 2.7 household rating. Its companion half-hour, “The Gayle King Show,” rebounded from the previous week’s decline, gaining 17% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court” was flat with a 2.3, as was Worldvision’s gameshow “Pictionary” with a 1.3.

Most veteran talkshows posted slight household gains during the week of Oct. 20. Universal TV’s “Jerry Springer” hit a new all-time high at a 4.0. U’s other talkshow franchise, “Sally Jessy Raphael,” posted its biggest number of the season to date, a 4.2. Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” inched up 2% to its highest mark in seven weeks, also a 4.2.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” led the yak pack, as usual, with a 7.3, marking a 4% increase over the previous week. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” was flat with a 4.4. Paramount’s “Montel Williams” climbed 9% to a 3.8, while Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” was flat with a 3.5.

Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” upticked 4% to a 2.7; Tribune’s “Geraldo” grew 6% to hit a 1.9. Paramount’s “Maury Povich” was the only talker to head south, dipping 3% to a 3.0.

Among access magazine shows, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” set a new standard for the season to date, climbing 4% to a 5.9. King World’s “Inside Edition” was up 5% to a 4.1. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” dipped 2% to a 4.0, while Par’s “Hard Copy” fell 6% to a 3.2. KingWorld’s “American Journal” was up 4% to a 2.6, while NBC/Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” lost 10% to bottom out at a new low of a 1.8.

In the realm of reality strips, three was the operative number for the week. Par’s “Real TV” gained 3% to a 3.3, while Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” dropped 3% to a 2.9.

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