Spring Torpor for Most Syndies


Syndicated programmers might as easily call it "daylight shavings time," as longer days and the call of the great outdoors continued to shave viewers off household totals.

Access and early fringe offerings remained generally in the doldrums as the second week of daylight savings time continued to depress the dayparts, though some of those programs rebounded a bit in Nielsen’s national averages for the week ended April 17.

Viewing levels slipped another 634,000 households, bringing the total decline since the time change April 3 to 3.463 million homes.

In access, the top off-net sitcoms all recovered slightly from last week’s drubbing. 

Everybody Loves Raymond (6.3) jumped 7% for the week and 24% from the comparable year-ago week. Seinfeld (5.6), meanwhile, was up 2% but down 7% from a year ago, while Friends (5.1) increased 4% and saw its year-to-year average drop 9%.

Magazines and games remained flat, with the exceptions of Extra—rebounding 10% from last week’s season low, despite falling 15% from a year ago—and Family Feud, dropping 5% on the week and year.

In its fifth week ended April 24, meanwhile, Twentieth TV’s A Current Affair revival hit its lowest score yet in overnight metered markets. It averaged a 2.6 rating/5 share for its primary runs in 30 markets—down 24% from its 3.4/7 lead-in and 16% from the year-ago time period average of 3.1/6.

Its best performances came in Atlanta, market No. 9 (up 51% from a year ago) and 10th-ranked Detroit (with a 48% hike).  In the largest markets, however, it underperformed year-ago time periods: down 48% in New York, 37% in Los Angeles and 43% in Chicago.

Among daytime performers, hurt by warmer weather in the East, the national rankings showed that none of the talkers were up except Tony Danza. Five remained unchanged and three declined.