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Syndies Slip Despite Sweeps Boost

Ratings for syndicated shows rebounded somewhat in the Nielsen national barter rankings during the second full week corresponding to the local market sweeps.

But most syndie shows continued to stack up poorly compared to a year ago, with access series taking particularly hard household hits during the week ended Feb. 19.

Among the magazines, Paramount’s top-rated “Entertainment Tonight” (7.9) fell 14% year-to-year; King World’s “Inside Edition” (6.7) was down 8% and Par’s “Hard Copy” was off dramatically, tumbling 17% to 6.4 from last year’s 7.7.

Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” showed the worst year-to-year performance of any magazine for the second consecutive week. It plummeted 28% to 5.3 from last year’s 7.4.

By comparison, KW’s “American Journal” had an easy time of it, slipping only 4% to 4.5 from last year.

Although the magazines have been going all out covering the tabloid dream trial, they seem to be in the same boat with early evening O& O newscasts. All are down, while cable ratings are up for their coverage of the O.J. Simpson case.

The only magazine to gain during the week was Warner Bros.’ freshman strip “Extra – The Entertainment Magazine,” which climbed 5% to 3.9.

Elsewhere in access, KW’s top-rated “Wheel of Fortune” sank 13% to 14.0 from a 16.0 during the corresponding week in February ’94. The syndicator’s “Jeopardy!” racked up an 11% loss to 11.8.

Of the off-net sitcoms, Carsey-Werner’s “Roseanne” slumped 12% to 7.2, while Columbia TriStar’s “Married… With Children” sank 11% to 5.9.

Three new shows with access clearances bucked the losing trend and turned in powerful performances.

Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” remained at its all-time high of 6.7 for the second straight week and, in terms of demos, finished first in the freshman field in the key adult 18-34,18-49 and 25-54 brackets.

WB’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” gained 2% to 6.3 and finished second in the adult demos.

Turning to vet off-net series, Twentieth’s “Cops” was the top-rated reality show in adults 18-34 and 18-49.

Outside of access, the freshman contingent turned in an uninspired sweeps week showing: Twentieth’s “Gordon Elliott” sank 3% to 2.9; Multimeida’s “Susan Powter” fell 8% to 1.2 and Group W’s “Marilu” was flat at a microscopic 0.9.

Col’s “The Newz” was canceled after it plunged 14% to 1.2, its worst rating ever.

Also of note, MCA TV’s new weekly series “Vanishing Son” (4.0) got knocked down 17% from last week’s 4.8, its lowest rating yet. MCA’s “Journeys of Hercules” apparently got lost and was reprocessed by Nielsen.

Of the new weeklies, Worldvision’s “University Hospital” looked somewhat feverish, drooping 17% to 2.4 and matching its low for the season. Companion “Robin’s Hoods” was also off 17% to 2.0 and Par’s “Sightings” (3.8) watched closely as 12% of its ratings vanished.

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