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‘Oprah’ beats ‘Jerry’ in week of disruptions

Vet back at top of yak pack

The 13th season premiere of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” rocketed the veteran talker back to the top of the yak pack, breaking the “Jerry Springer Show’s” 26-week winning streak.

For the week of Sept. 7, “Oprah Winfrey” jumped 28% from the previous week to a 6.8 national Nielsen household rating. “Springer,” airing all reruns, slipped 6% to a 5.9.

The week was full of programming disruptions, however, starting with the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday and ending Sept. 11 with saturation TV coverage of the delivery of the Kenneth Starr report to Congress about President Clinton. As a result, Winfrey’s show was preempted or delayed on dozens of markets, so the preem-week rating was based on a three-day average.

“Oprah Winfrey” also was tops in the key women 18-49 demographic category with a 4.4, up 33% from the previous week. “Springer” slipped 2% to a 4.0 in women 18-49, but he still reigned in the broader adults 18-49 race with a 3.3 to “Oprah’s” 2.9.

Also premiering in the same week were Warner Bros. talkers “Rosie O’Donnell” and “Jenny Jones.” The week’s events knocked out two installments of “Rosie O’Donnell,” which wound up with a three-day average of a 3.3, up 10% from the previous week. In women 18-49, “Rosie” spiked 16% to a 2.2. “Jenny Jones,” with a full week of segs, slipped 9% from the previous week to a 3.0 and was unchanged in women 18-49 with a 1.9.

Even in reruns, Paramount’s “Montel Williams” ranked third behind Winfrey and Springer with a 3.9 household number and a 2.3 with women 18-49. Buena Vista TV’s “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,” which launched its new season in late August, climbed 12% from week-to-week to a 3.8 household number and was up 19% to a 1.9 in women 18-49.

Reruns or no reruns, Studios USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” rose 15% from the previous week to a 3.8 household, while noting a 10% gain with women 18-49 (2.2). Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” was flat at a 2.9 household mark but up 5% with femmes to a 2.1.

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