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‘Jerry,’ ‘Judy’ on top

Sweeps syndie winners toplined by 'Springer'

The “Jerry Springer Show,” “Judge Judy,” “Entertainment Tonight” and “Seinfeld” were the big syndie winners in May, according to national Nielsen household rating averages for the four-week sweep period (April 23-May 20).

In the daytime talkshow derby, Studios USA’s “Jerry Springer” broke “Oprah Winfrey’s” decade-long May sweep winning streak, coming in at a 7.8 household rating to “Oprah’s” 6.8.

“Oprah” did squeak out a narrow win against “Springer” in the top 40 TV markets measured by Nielsen’s overnight metered survey, but on a national basis, “Oprah” was down 15% from the May 1997 sweep, while “Springer” soared 152%. Judgment day is looming for “Springer,” however, as next week is expected to usher in the kinder, gentler era of “Springer” — absent the brawling that has provoked so much criticism.

3 gals and a guy

Coming in a distant third among talkers was Paramount’s “Montel Williams” with a 4.3, unchanged from its year-ago perf. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” followed in fourth with a 4.2, down 9% from last year. Studios USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” averaged a 4.0, off 7% from last year. WB’s “Jenny Jones” was down 5% year-to-year to a 3.9.

Buena Vista TV’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” pulled in a 3.7, dipping 8% from last May. Columbia TriStar TV’s “Ricki Lake” held all but 3% of last year’s rating at a 3.4. Par’s “Maury Povich” was down 26% year-to-year to a 2.9.

Among new firstrun strips, Col TriStar’s “Vibe” struggled through its third major sweep with a 1.3 average. The verdict on WB’s “The People’s Court” was a 2.7. Eyemark Entertainment’s “Martha Stewart Living” pulled in a 2.2. The recently canceled “Gayle King” and “Pictionary” came in under the 2.0 household rating mark.

Judgment call

Worldvision’s “Judge Judy” continued to shine in its sophomore season, growing a whopping 118% over last May to a 4.8. Par’s “Real TV” was second in the reality field with a 3.2.

Among access magazine strips, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” led the pack, as usual, with a 5.5. King World’s “Inside Edition” and WB’s “Extra” tied for second with a 4.1. Par’s “Hard Copy” tallied a 3.1 overall, but posted gains in early fringe timeslots in a number of major markets. NBC/Twentieth TV’s “Access Hollywood” banked a 2.4.

In off-network sitcom-land, Col TriStar’s “Seinfeld” was the only major strip to stave off significant year-to-year declines. “Seinfeld” eased just 3% to a 7.2 for its first syndie sweep win over Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement.”

“Home Improvement” tumbled 22% from last year to a 6.7. Twentieth TV’s “The Simpsons” lost 14% to a 5.4. Par’s “Frasier,” in its first May sweep in syndication, averaged a 4.9. Col TriStar’s “Mad About You” sank 30% from last May to a 3.0.

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