Rise in ‘Regis’ tightens yakker race

'Springer' ties for 2nd; 'Oprah' still leads

“Jerry Springer Show,” which ranked second only to “Oprah” in yakkers for 47 straight weeks, shared the No. 2 spot with “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” during the week that ended April 16.

“Springer,” in originals that week, dipped 7% from the previous frame to its lowest national household rating since October 1997 to meet “Live,” which was up 3% from the previous week, at 3.7, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Like “Jerry,” “Sally Jessy Raphael” took a big hit last week. In reruns for four out of the five days it aired that week, “Sally” earned its lowest rating in more than 12 years: a 2.7.

Overall, the upper tier in the yakker race has grown much tighter than it used to be. At this time last year, the range between the second-place talker and the seventh placer spanned 2.7 ratings points. It’s now 0.7.

“Oprah” topped the batch, at 6.2, followed by “Springer” and “Live,” at 3.7, as well as “Rosie O’Donnell,” which was flat at 3.6. “Maury” was down 3% to 3.3, and Montel Williams was down 6% to 3.0.

In eighth place, “Ricki Lake” earned a 2.5, followed by “Jenny Jones,” a 2.0; “Donny & Marie” at 1.6; and “The Roseanne Show,” 0.3.

In weekly action, the weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight” was up 31% to top the first-run weekly hours, while the off-net run of “The X-Files” won the weeklies overall, down 4% to 4.3. “Back 2 Back Action” was up 4% to lead the new weeklies.

Elsewhere in syndie land, “Friends” was up 2% to 5.7, winning the off-net sitcom race, and “Judge Judy” held off the gavelers while dipping 3% to a season low 6.6 rating. “Wheel of Fortune” led gameshows, up 4% to 10.7; “ET” beat the rest of the mags, up 3% to 6.3; and “Real TV” was up 11% to 2.1 to lead the reality strips.

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