Holiday depression for syndie ratings

Holiday spirits must be too high for broken hearts, trysts and betrayal.

MGM’s syndie special “National Enquirer Presents: Love, Marriage and Divorce Hollywood Style” scored a 2.4 national Nielsen household rating, according to the syndie ratings report for the week ending Dec. 14. MGM’s hourlong spec came in far below its predecessor, “National Enquirer Presents: 25 Years of Scandals,” which earned a 3.1 household rating last June.

It was a humdrum week for the syndie biz overall, with many of the top shows in repeats or pre-empted for holiday-related programming. Still, daytime talkshows made some headway out of the traditional post-November sweep swoon that some fell into the previous week.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” led the yak pack with a 7% increase over the previous week to a 7.5 household rating. Universal TV’s “Jerry Springer” easily took second place, gaining 7% week-to-week to a 5.8. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” hiked 9% to a 4.7.

Coming off a strong November sweep performance, particularly in key female demographics, Universal’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” eased 2% week-to-week to a 4.2. Warner Bros. “Jenny Jones” was flat at a 4.2. Paramount’s “Montel Williams” dropped 16% to a 4.1, while Buena Vista TV’s morning stalwart “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” was off 5% to a 4.0.

Columbia TriStar TV’s “Ricki Lake” hit a new high for the season, inching up 3% to a 3.7. Par’s “Maury Povich” was flat at a 3.4.

The deadlock between “The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show” and “Vibe” continues in latenight, with the latenight freshmen tied at a 1.7. Buena Vista TV’s “Wayans” was flat from week-to-week, while Columbia TriStar’s “Vibe” was up 6%.

Among other frosh strips, Eyemark Entertainment’s “Martha Stewart Living” was flat at a 2.9. Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court” rose 8% to a 2.8. Eyemark’s “Gayle King” was flat at a 2.2 and Worldvision’s “Pictionary” climbed 15% from a 1.3 to a 1.5.

Access magazines and reality strips were mostly unchanged from the previous week. Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” was up 2% to 6.3. King World’s “Inside Edition” was flat at 4.4. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” gained 2% to a 4.2, while Par’s “Hard Copy” fell 8% to a 3.3. King World’s “American Journal” was off 4% to a 2.7 and “Access Hollywood” was flat at a 2.1.

Reality comers “Real TV” and “Judge Judy” were neck-and-neck for the week. Par’s “Real TV” inched up 3% to a 3.8, while Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” rose 6% to a 3.7. Perennial syndie chart toppers “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” were flat at a 12.4 and 10.2, respectively.

Off-network sitcoms had an uneven week. Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” was up 7% to a 9.2, but Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” was down 3% to a 7.7. Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” was down 2% to a 6.0, while Col TriStar’s “Mad About You” hiked 6% to a 3.8. Paramount’s “Frasier” was flat week-to-week at a 5.4, but Carsey-Werner’s “Grace Under Fire” rose 10% to a 3.4.

Among weekly syndie hours, reruns of “The X-Files” stayed on top with a 9% gain to a 7.1. Universal TV’s firstrun “Xena: Warrior Princess” was next with a 10% spike to a 5.6. U’s “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” was up 6% to a 4.7. Reruns of “Walker, Texas Ranger” slipped 6% to a 4.7, but still beat Par’s firstrun “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” which took a 10% dive to a 4.6, its lowest rating of the season so far.

Other big gainers in the firstrun weekly field were Eyemark’s “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” up 15% to a 3.8; Universal’s “Team Knight Rider,” which leaped 18% to a 2.6; and MGM’s “Fame LA,” up 14% to 1.6.

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