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HOLLYWOOD — Twentieth Television rookie “Texas Justice” roped in bigger week-to-week gains than any strip — including the vets — during the May sweeps period kickoff.

For the week ended May 5, “Texas Justice” grabbed a 2.2 Nielsen household score, shooting up 16% from the prior ratings period to take the top spot among the freshmen.

After beating “Texas Justice” for the first time last week, Universal’s newly acquired syndie “Crossing Over With John Edward” (1.8, down 10%) fell to second, tying “The Weakest Link” (1.8, flat).

Most of the strips didn’t budge much from where they were the prior week. But looking at initial year-to-year comparisons in this month’s cutthroat numbers game, gavelers are playing better than the yakkers.

Courting auds

Six out of seven court efforts have improved from their showings this time last year, whereas nine out of the 10 talk strips are worse off.

After leader “Judge Judy” (5.9, up 4%) came “Judge Joe Brown” (3.4, up 6%), “Divorce Court” (2.7, up 4%), “Judge Greg Mathis” (2.2, up 16%), “People’s Court” (2.2, up 18%) and “Judge Hatchett” (1.7, down 11%).

“Maury” (3.3, up 3%) was the only chatter to gain over last year. Not as lucky are “Oprah” (5.7, down 2%), “Live With Regis and Kelly” (3.4, down 6%) and “Jerry Springer” (2.5, down 26%), which dropped the furthest.

Others in the same boat are “Rosie O’Donnell” (2.3, down 18%), “Montel Williams” (2.3, down 21%), “Jenny Jones” (1.8, down 10%), “Ricki” (1.8, down 18%), “Sally Jessy Raphael” (1.5, down 21%) and “Martha Stewart Living” (1.3, down 7%).