Seinfeld crew takes a dip


The Seinfeld crew-Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer-ran into some stormy seas in syndication, but nothing seriously wrong, according to one knowledgeable observer.

For the week ending April 23, Seinfeld pulled its lowest weekly national numbers since its off-net launch five years ago, recording a 4.9 (down 8% from last week), according to Nielsen Media Research. That was still good enough for a tie for second place with Paramount TV's Frasier. And season-to-date, the show is still cruising at a healthy clip, averaging a 5.8.

There were some extenuating circumstances as well. The Seinfeld gang, and the rest of the syndication bunch had to compete with the holidays-spring break, Passover, Good Friday-when TV viewing historically drops. Seinfeld took the additional hit of a baseball pre-emption in Los Angeles, the No. 2 market. Seinfeld was not the only hit sitcom to feel the effect. Friends (5.5) and Frasier, both slipped 4% from the previous week.

"A week does not a trend make," reassures Katz TV's Bill Carroll. "If this continued through May sweeps, then [the downturn] would be critical. But we still have a pretty solid performer in Seinfeld."

If anything, "it's a cautionary sign that you can't take any show for granted, but everybody is going to have their off week," he added.

Among the off-net rookies, Warner Bros.' The Drew Carey Show scored a 3.9, topping Carsey Werner's 3rd Rock From the Sun (3.4).