Syndie sweeps surge

Sitcoms, newsmags, quizzers jump in ratings

The end of daylight savings time and the beginning of November sweeps gave syndicators a fall treat as nearly all access shows found a spike in their ratings, according to Nielsen for the week of November 1-7.

Off-net sitcoms, newsmags and quizzers all jumped in aud levels, with cold winds driving people indoors earlier and helping rookies post all-time highs.

The off-net posse saw former “Must See TV” laffer partners once again claim the top two positions in the genre. Warner Bros.’ “Friends” jumped 17% to a 6.9 rating, while Columbia TriStar’s “Seinfeld” rose 12% to a 6.4 rating.

Among the rookies, Warner Bros.’ “Drew Carey Show,” Carsey-Werner’s “Third Rock From the Sun” and Eyemark’s “Caroline in the City” hit all-time highs, with “Carey” soaring 11% to a 4.2, “Rock” cruising up 10% to a 3.4 and “Caroline” up 5% to a 2.0.

Among newsmags, three of the four veterans on the air had their best weeks of the season, with Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” edging up 3% to a 6.2, Warner Bros.’ “Extra” adding an extra 12% for a 3.7 rating and “Inside Edition” growing 7% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.’ “Access Hollywood” was also up to a 2.1 but fell short of its season high. Rookie MGM strip “National Enquirer” bucked the trend and was off 5% to a 1.8 rating.

Gameshows were also red-hot as “Millionaire”-mania swept the country. “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy,” “Change of Heart” and “Family Feud” all nailed their best scores of the season. King World’s trifecta led the pack as usual with “Wheel” up 8% to an 11.7 rating, “Jeopardy” inched up 3% to a 9.5 and “Hollywood Squares” climbed 2% for a 4.4. Pearson’s “Family Feud” rose 12% to its all-time high of 1.9, helped by an array of recent upgrades.

Relationships strips “Change of Heart” from Warner Bros. bloomed 5% to a 2.3 rating while Universal’s freshman “Blind Date” stayed flat at a 1.5.

Paramount’s “Judge Judy” reigned supreme among the gavel crowd, rising 4% to a season-high 7.6 rating, with the red-hot “Judge Joe Brown” second at a 4.2. The genre’s top rookie remained Twentieth’s “Divorce Court,” which again tied its best-ever score of 3.1.

The off-net weeklies saw Twentieth’s “The X-Files” uncover a 4.7 as its first-run counterpart had its season premiere on Fox. The syndie version was up 12% over the previous week, marking the 100th time in its two off-net seasons that the show has topped its genre (out of the 108 weeks it’s been on the air).

Action hours didn’t fare as well with the time shift. Still, MGM’s “Stargate SG-1” took the top spot despite being off 3% to a 3.3. Second place went to Studios USA’s “Xena,” which tripped 23% to a 3.0 rating. The freshman class saw Tribune’s “Beastmaster” rule, up 4% with a 2.6 while Paramount’s Tia Carrere starrer “Relic Hunter” landed second with a 2.2, marking the series’ all-time high.