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NBA, holiday slap down syndie fare

In a repeat of previous years, many syndicated shows hit their worst ratings of the season during the Memorial Day week.

The holiday, five consecutive NBA playoff games, an after-school special, reruns and the usual post-sweeps lull all conspired to hurt the syndie pack, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings for the week ended June 14.

Tabloid magazines suffered, with “Hard Copy,” “Inside Edition” and “American Journal” hitting their lowest levels of the year. A fourth, “A Current Affair,” came within a tenth of its all-time worst ratings mark.

Changes don’t hurt

The leader of the magazine pack, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight,” held up relatively well, dipping just 3% from the previous week, which partially encompassed the sweeps. The program is undergoing an exec producer change (Daily Variety, June 12).

The two top programs in syndication, King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” (11.1) and “Jeopardy!” (9.0), continued their downfall into unchartered ratings territory. Both hit new lows for the year, the second consecutive week that has occurred.

Talkshows performed a bit stronger, although some did not count Memorial Day in their weeklong averages, creating an uneven playing field.

Among the programs with five days of ratings, KW’s “Oprah Winfrey” hit what appears to be its worst household rating ever with a 6.9. It had been performing at a 7.8 during the sweeps, then fell to a 7.2 last week.

With the advent of summer, Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” earned a 4.8. The show was down only a few tenths from the previous week, and along with Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” has been functioning within a narrow range over the past four weeks. “Jenny,” meanwhile, bucked the downward trend, gaining 7% to 4.8.

In weekly action, most shows seemed relatively immune to the major ratings upheavals rocking the strips.

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