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Sweeps drag on mags, but pump up sitcoms

Syndicated magazines looked somewhat sluggish, top off-net sitcoms soared and talkshows turned in a mixed perf during the four-week period overlapping the local market November sweeps.

According to t he Nielsen national barter rankings, all the tabmags collapsed from a year ago except for Warner Bros.’ “Extra,” which posted a minor increase but shrank the most off its metered market lead-in over Thanksgiving week.

Slicing Turkey Day

With the exception of “Extra” and Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair,” the mags averted a bigger dropoff by omitting Thanksgiving Day – and, in some instances, the following day – from their averages during the week ended Nov. 26.

Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” lost 18% year-to-year, with a four-week average of 7.2. And during Thanksgiving week, its metered market average dropped 4% from its lead-in.

King World’s “Inside Edition” fell 11% year-to-year, averaging a 5.9 for the four weeks compared with last year’s 6.7. In the metered markets during the holiday week, it lost 11 % from its lead-in.

Par’s “Hard Copy” decreased 22% from last year to 5.2. The tabmag, which was hit hard by affiliation and time period shifts, was the only series in the genre to improve on its metered market lead-in during the final week, however.

Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair,” which has undergone numerous personnel changes and a big image makeover this season, dropped 25% from a year ago to 4.2, after losing a large number of access clearances. Perhaps a more accurate reflection of its perf was its metered market average, which was on par with its lead-in during the week.

At the top of t he freshman offnet sitcom class, Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” turned up t he power with a 9.6 over the four weeks. Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” also was strong at 7.3.

Twentieth’s “The Simpsons” leaped 20% year-to-year to 6.6, with its national coverage increasing, too.

In the talkshow realm, KW’s “Oprah Winfrey” continued to lead the pack, but the sheer number of competitors helped bring down its year-to-year perf by 11% to a four-week mark of 8.5.

At the top of t he household list, KW’s “Wheel of Fortune” shrank a modest 6% to 12.8 from 13.6.

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