Like their prime time counterparts, the winners in Nielsen’s local market May sweeps offered no surprises.

Once again, King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” dominated the syndie competition, while Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” continued to lead the access newsmag contest.

Viacom’s “Roseanne,” meanwhile, chewed up the access landscape among off-net sitcoms and KW’s “Oprah Winfrey Show” continued to dominate early fringe.

The most interesting contest came in late fringe, where Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” edged past Par’s struggling “Arsenio,” whose show has been heading south in recent books.

The most profitable daypart, of course, is the lucrative access hour leading into prime time.

And there, according to a Petry Television analysis of the May sweeps, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” scored a 7.8 rating/15 share in 120 markets.

KW’s “Inside Edition” with 50 clearances in the daypart, pulled in a 7.5/17.

Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” averaged a 6.9/14 in access, the daypart in which it is most heavily cleared (85 out of 186 markets carry it then). Par’s “Hard Copy,” with only 39 airings in access, trailed with a 6.8/13.

Among the reality strips, Twentieth TV’s off-Fox episodes of “Cops” continued to haul in arresting numbers. The strip copped a 5.6/11 in 29 access markets.

Genesis Entertainment’s firstrun “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” responded with a 3.6/5 in a dozen access airings. It performed best in prime time, where it averaged a 4.2/6 in 10 markets.

Turning to off-net sitcoms, the 98 markets airing “Roseanne” in access garnered a 6.7/14 to lead the competition as she cashed in big with teens and women.

Par’s “Cheers” toasted a 6.4/14 in 62 access outings, followed by Columbia’s “Married … With Children,” which continued to show legs (among other things). It scratched up a 5.8/11 in 72 markets — its best mark in any daypart.

Warner Bros.’ “Murphy Brown” claimed a lackluster 4.4/9 in 45 access markets, where it performed best with women in the 18-34 age range.

Warner Bros.’ “Full House” edged its way to a 6.3/11 in 18 access markets, while Turner Program Services’ “The Wonder Years” pondered a not-so-wonderful 3. 5/7 on the same number of stations.

In early fringe, “Inside Edition” ruled the mags with a 6.2/19 in 78 markets, followed by “Affair” (5.7/16 in 53 markets), “Copy” (5.3/15 in its 63 outings) and “E.T.” (4.9/17 in its 19 airings).

“Cops” cuffed a 4.3/10 with 27 early fringe appearances, while”Highway Patrol” rode to a 3.1/9 in 10 markets.

Among sitcoms, “Roseanne” earned a 6.2/14 in 49 early fringe appearances, while WB’s “Full House” squeezed to a 5.6/14 in 163 markets and “Cheers” slugged down a 5.0/14 in 51.

“Married,” meanwhile, marched down the aisle to a 4.7/11 in 24, “Murphy Brown” reported a 3.7/9 in 34 and “Wonder Years” averaged a 3.1/8 in 86.

Among chatters, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” weighed in with a hefty 10.8/35 in 201 early fringe markets. Factoring in all dayparts, however, the show is down about 7% from a year ago.

Multimedia Entertainment’s “Donahue,” which grabbed a 5.7/20 with 88 early fringe clearances and 5.1/24 in 98 daytime outings, saw numbers continue to erode as show slid 1.1/4 from May 1992.

The news wasn’t quite as bad for “Sally Jessy Raphael,” which clinched a 4.9/ 17 in 58 early fringe runs and a 5.1/23 in 121 daytime markets. Overall, it was off half a rating point and 2 shares. Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” with 178 of its 188 runs in daytime slots, averaged a 5.0/23 and showed slight growth.

Par’s “Maury Povich” talked his way to a 4.7/18 in 80 early fringe markets, edging past Tribune’s “Geraldo’s” 4.5/17 in 49 (“MoPo” also squeezed past “Geraldo” in daytime, with a 3.9/17 in 66 markets vs. a 3.5/16 for “Geraldo” with 85 daytime clearances). Viacom’s “Montel Williams Show” gabbed up a 4.7/19 with 26 early fringe clearances and a 2.7/13 in 74 daytime markets (2.0/15 in 11 late fringe markets).

With Group W Prods. relying on “Vicki!”-in-the-can sweeps episodes, the show posted a healthy 3.3/14 in 24 early fringe markets and a 2.9/14 in 115 daytime markets, despite off-camera bickering.

Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” took a 2.7/12 in 90 daytime markets and, overall, jumped 40% in rating and 44% in share from ’92.

Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer” showed slight growth, scoring a 2.9/13 in 53 daytime markets (and a 1.2/15 on 30 late fringers).

WB’s companion talker, “Jane Whitney,” performed slightly better in 46 late fringe runs (2.2/11) than in 27 daytime outings (2.1/7).

Trib’s “Joan Rivers” is having trouble in daytime, averaging only a 1.9/7 in 64 markets, down 2 shares overall year-to-year.

Turning to late fringe, “The Arsenio Hall Show” continued to slide, averaging a 2.4/10 in 172 markets (and a paltry 1.7/5 in eight prime time airings). That represents drops of 18% in rating and 17% in share.

“Arsenio” lost in late fringe to Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh,” grabbed a 2.6/ 20 in 164 markets. “Rush” surpassed “Arsenio” in all key male demos as well as with adults over 50. “Cops” busted “Highway Patrol” in late fringe, with the former claiming a 4.5/12 in 17 markets and “Patrol” cruising to a 2.9/6 in a dozen.

“E.T.” dominated mag strips in the daypart with a 6.8/12 in 21 markets, while “Edition” led with a 4.2/15 based on 23 appearances.

“Copy” copied a 4.0/17 in 29 markets and “Affair” rendezvoused with a 2.4/13 in 30 markets. Among comedies, “Cheers” was late night king with a 6.5/20 in 81 markets. “Roseanne” claimed a 5.8/13 in 11 late fringe markets, with “Married” next at a 4.5/17 in 97. “Murphy Brown” did her best numbers in the daypart, capturing a 4.2/13 in 21 markets.