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Post-sweeps syndie talk stammers

In a week that overlapped the final three days of the May sweeps, most syndicated series wilted from warmer weather, the lack of promotion that accompanies the end of a sweeps period and the Memorial Day weekend.

The pack of talkshows was among the hardest hit genre in the Nielsen national barter rankings for the week ended May 28, with only two chat entrants showing any growth: Tribune’s “Geraldo” and Twentieth TV’s “Gordon Elliott.”

“Geraldo,” rising 5% over the previous week to 4.0, its second-best mark of the season, found itself in an unusual household tie with Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee.”

The rookie talker, “Elliott,” climbed 8% to 2.8. That put it in a tie with Multimedia’s “Donahue,” which ended the sweeps with a 13% tumble and quite possibly its worst ratings ever in national syndication. “Donahue” also tied Multimedia’s “Jerry Springer,” which was flat week-to-week. King World’s top-rated “Oprah Winfrey” slipped 8% to 7.2 and come within striking distance of its all-time low. The canceled freshman Paramount latenight talkshow “Jon Stewart” finished the week with a season-low of 1.0 – something that even the top-rated shows could relate to.

King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” (11.4) and “Jeopardy!” (9.1) each hit season lows, while among the tabloid magazines, Par’s “Hard Copy” reclaimed the lead from KW’s “Inside Edition.” “Copy” gained 5% to 6.1, while “Edition” inched up 2% to 6.0. Twentieth’s “A Current Affair” eased another 2% to 4.5, with its recently released managing editor and chief reporter Steve Dunlevy said to be headed to the New York Post, owned by Fox-parent News Corp.

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