Demographic ratings rule the TV biz, and the season-ending demo averages for the top syndie skeins reveal a few surprises when compared to household rankings.

“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” which consistently trails “Xena: Warrior Princess” in households among weekly firstrun hours, edged out “Xena” in the key adults 18-49 demo for the season (Sept. 1, 1997-May 31, 1998).

“Jenny Jones” surpassed its higher-rated rival “Rosie O’Donnell” in adults 18-34. “Real TV” consistently beat “Judge Judy” in demos, even though the reverse was true in households. Same was true for the demo race between newsmags “Extra” and “Inside Edition.”

But some things never change. “Seinfeld” reruns topped all of syndication, off-network and firstrun, in the three demo categories of primary importance to advertisers. Columbia TriStar TV Distribution’s “Seinfeld” scored a 5.0 rating in adults 18-34, a 4.8 in adults 18-49 and a 4.9 in 25-54.

Reruns of “Home Improvement” and “The X-Files” came in a close second. Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” earned a 4.7 in adults 18-34 and a 4.6 in adults 18-49. The numbers for Twentieth TV’s “The X-Files” were just the opposite: a 4.6 in adults 18-34 and a 4.7 in adults 18-49.

Among the rest of the off-net sitcom pack, the adults 18-49 rankings were: “The Simpsons” (3.4); “Frasier” (3.3); “Mad About You” (2.1); and “Grace Under Fire” (1.8).

In the talkshow arena, the story of the season belonged to Studios USA’s the “Jerry Springer Show.” “Springer” was tops across the board, besting the once-invincible “Oprah Winfrey” by a solid margin in adults 18-34 (“Springer’s” 4.5 vs. “Oprah’s” 2.9), adults 18-49 (3.8 vs. 3.1) and adults 25-54 (3.4 vs. 3.3).

Coming in a distant third among yakkers in adults 18-49 was Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” with a 2.2; “Rosie” earned a 2.3 in both the 18-34 and 25-54 categories. WB stablemate “Jenny Jones” was close behind in 18-49 (2.1) and stronger in 18-34 (2.3).

Of the five freshman strips that started out last September, only two will be back this fall for a second season. Warner Bros.’ revival of “The People’s Court” averaged a 1.2 in adults 18-49, while Eyemark Entertainment’s “Martha Stewart Living” had a 1.0.

King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” finished out its 15th season in syndication with a 3.2 in adults 18-49, while its “Jeopardy!” wrapped season 14 with a 3.0.

Among access magazines, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight” was the clear leader with a 2.2 in adults 18-34 and a 2.9 in adults 18-49.