YOUNGER-SKEWED FARE SLIPS O.J. SYNDIE CURSE

Magazine, game, reality shows and some sitcoms that appear in the access hour preceding primetime suffered in the May sweeps as the O.J. Simpson trial continued to pull off older viewers to cable.

But young-skewing sitcoms and dramas such as Worldvision’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” seemed immune from declines, according to a Petry National TV analysis of the sweeps.

‘E.T.’ topples

Of the magazines, Paramount’s leader “Entertainment Tonight” (6.7 rating/13 share and a 7.0/13 in access) dropped 1.2 rating points from its lead-in and 0.8 points from last May. It fell anywhere from a few tenths to a half point in demos, hurt by Simpson as well as by its shift from the NBC-owned to weaker CBS-owned stations.

Warner Bros.’ freshman “Extra – The Entertainment Magazine” (3.5/8 and 5.0/8 in access) slipped 1.3 rating points from its lead-in and 0.8 points from a year ago. It was off only a couple tenths in the younger women demos, but the decline was move severe among men 18-49 and 25-54.

King World’s “Inside Edition” edged past Par’s “Hard Copy” in the overall household race with a 5.7/16 vs. a 5.4/13, but “Copy” claimed the access title. It scored a 6.8/13, while “Inside” finished with a 6.6/15. The KW show outpaced “Copy” in early fringe by half a point, however.

“Inside” fell about a full rating point from its lead-in and about a half point from the previous May. It lost anywhere from a few tenths to a half point in demos. “Copy” improved a bit on its lead-in, but dipped about a half point from last May. In demos, it declined just a few tenths year-to-year.

‘Affair’ to forget

Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” (3.8/11) was about a full rating point below its lead-in and year-ago average. It declined a half to 1 full rating point in key demos. Like most mags, core Simpson trial viewers over age 55 accounted for the biggest loss.

With its shift in many markets from evening to afternoon slots, “Affair” – which was revamped after the sweeps – pulled a 6.2/13 in access and a 4.2/12 in early fringe.

King World’s “American Journal” (3.8/14) was a notch behind “Affair” in access at a 6.1/14. The show finished off a half rating point from its lead-in and about even with May ’94, while its demos declined slightly.

Reality’s bite

Twentieth’s “Cops” and other reality series such as Genesis Entertainment’s “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” slid. KW’s “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” both lost about a point year-to-year.

In the off-net sitcom arena, Twentieth’s freshman entry “The Simpsons” (6.0/10 and 6.4/10 in access) gained 1 full rating point over the previous May time period average and its lead-in.

Teens remained its core audience, with the show earning an 8.5/30 in the demo – down somewhat from the fall and winter, when more young viewers were indoors watching TV.

WB’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (5.2/10 and 5.9/12 in access) rose nearly a full rating and share point over its mark the previous May. “Prince” improved its lead-in by more than half a rating point and was up in all demos, with its 4 share rise in young women representing the biggest gain.

MCA TV’s “Coach (3.7/11 and 5.0/11 in access) dropped 2 shares from its lead-in, nearly 1.5 shares from a year ago and posted substantial demo losses.

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