Universal Domestic TV’s weekly action hour “Xena: Warrior Princess” battled its way to the top spot in the genre by its widest margin ever the week ended Feb. 2, which overlapped the first four days of the sweeps.

“Xena” remained first among weeklies for the second straight week after rising 2% to a 6.1 and beating Universal companion “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” by a full rating point. “Hercules” slid 14% for the week to a 5.1, which was down a whopping 27% from the same week last year. “Xena,” on the other hand, was up 11% from its year-ago rating.

Often the leader among weeklies, Paramount Domestic TV’s “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was reprocessed for a second straight week, as was Par’s frosh weekly “Viper.” Finishing third among weeklies for the first time this season was MGM’s “Outer Limits,” which grew 5% to a 4.1, beating All American TV’s “Baywatch” despite losing 5% from last year.

Meanwhile, “Baywatch” dropped 3% to a 3.9, sinking a full 36% from its year-ago mark. Not far behind, Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution’s “Babylon 5” jumped 9% to a 3.8, which was 9% ahead of last year.

New shows

Among the season’s new weeklies, which were far behind, Eyemark Entertainment’s “Psi Factor” shared the top spot at 2.9 with Rysher’s “FX … The Series.” “Psi” climbed 7%, while “FX” rose 12%. Falling from first place to third, All American’s “Sinbad” dipped 7% to a 2.7, while MGM’s “Poltergeist: The Legacy” tumbled 15% to a 2.3.

Three new weeklies tied at 2.1: Twentieth TV’s “Two” and MTM’s “The Cape,” which both fell 9%, and Active Entertainment’s “America’s Dumbest Criminals,” which was flat. Keller Siegel’s “Tarzan” rose 12% to a 1.9, Tradewinds’ “Bounty Hunters” increased 8% to a 1.3, and ITC’s “Beach Patrol” was flat at 1.0.

It was a mixed week for the season’s new firstrun strips. Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” turned in another stellar performance. It gained 10%, tied its season high of 2.2, and was the only new firstrun strip to increase its metered-market lead-in, jumping 10% there too.

Par’s “Real TV” fell 8% to a 3.3, but remained at the top of the season’s firstrun strips for the ninth week in a row. Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” was flat for the week at a second-place 3.2. Columbia TriStar TV’s “Dating/Newlywed Hour” was flat at 1.7, tying Warner Bros.’ “Maureen O’Boyle,” which leaped 13% to a 1.7, matching its personal best.

Rsyher’s latenight strip “Strange Universe” was flat at 1.2 for a ninth straight week. Tying it at 1.2 after feeling the impact of downgrades in New York and Chicago was Tribune’s “Bzzz!” which stumbled 14% to its worst rating yet.


Some veteran daytimers fared better. Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” had the biggest weekly increase among the talkshows, powering ahead 18% to a season high, despite falling 4% from the same week last year. Also setting a new season high was Universal’s jewel “Sally Jessy Raphael,” which jumped 9% to a 4.7, beating its year-ago mark by a full 18%, the most of any talker.

On the flip side, Twentieth TV’s “Gordon Elliott” had the biggest weekly loss of the yet-to-be-canceled talkshows. “Gordon” fell 11% to a 1.6, which was off 24% from last year. Tribune’s “Geraldo” had the worst year-to-year loss, falling 27% for the year and 8% for the week to a 2.2, despite jumping 17% from its metered-market lead-in.

King World’s “Oprah” remained atop all the talkers after gaining 2% to an 8.7, off just 4% from last year. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” fell for a third straight week from its Madonna-inspired perch, this time 2% to a 5.2. Even so, it was second among the talkers, and it jumped 46% from its metered-market lead-in, the most of all talkshows.

Par’s “Montel Williams” dipped 2% to a 4.9, but still was 7% ahead of last year. Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” grew 5% to a 4.3, but faded 17% from last year. Par’s “Maury Povich” slid 2% to a 4.0, off 11% from last year.

Access strips

Almost all access strips were down from the same week last year, which was unusually strong because of massive snowstorms in much of the country. King World’s two gameshows took the top two spots on the entire chart. “Wheel of Fortune” was flat at 13.0, but down 8% from last year, while “Jeopardy!” grew 3% to a 10.8, also off 8% from one year ago.

Bucking the year-to-year downtrend were two off-net sitcoms. CTTD’s “Seinfeld” gained 4% for the week, matching its season high of 8.8, and improving its year-ago rating by 11%. Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” fell 5% for the week to a 6.9, but still paced 6% ahead of last year. Buena Vista’s “Home Improvement,” flat for the week, led the sitcoms at 10.5, falling just 2% from last year.

After showing some new life in January, no magazines increased for the week or improved year-to-year. Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” remained at 7.2 and led the pack by 2.1 rating points, despite falling 8% from last year. In second place, King World’s “Inside Edition” (5.1) had the worst year-to-year drop — 27% — after falling 6% for the week. Par’s “Hard Copy” dropped 10% for the week to a 4.4, off 20% from a year ago. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” was flat at 3.8 and down 5% from last year. King World’s “American Journal” dipped 3% to a 3.4, falling 21% from a year ago.