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Sabrina shines in sluggish syndie ratings

In a welcome boost to Caroline Rhea's spirits, the rookie off-net run of her series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch posted an all-time high for the week ending Jan. 28, according to Nielsen Media Research. (Distributor Paramount put the kibosh on her talk show this week.)

In fact, Sabrina (landing a 2.1 household rating, which is a 5% hop from last week), was the only show in syndication to reach a new season best during the period. Also positive, Sabrina is up 24% over her debut.
Not looking as strong was rookie off-net sitcom Spin City, which has dropped 20% over the past two weeks to a 2.8, which is 3% below its debut. Next in the freshmen off-net ranks were Suddenly Susan (1.7, flat for the week), Jamie Foxx (1.5, up 7%), Cosby,/i> (1.4, down 13%), Moesha (1.3, down 7%) and Clueless (1.1, flat).

In addition to Spin City, other shows feeling the winter blues were first-run strips, with zero improving, six posting decreases and four staying flat. Biggest slump was felt by Arrest & Trial (1.8, down 10% for week, down 10% from its debut), which scored an all-time low. Leader Power of Attorney dropped 10% from last period to a 2.6. Others looking weak or unchanged were Judge Hatchett (2.1, down 13%), Street Smarts (1.9, flat), To Tell the Truth (1.9, flat), Curtis Court (1.6, down 6%), Moral Court (1.0, flat), Dr. Laura (0.8, down 2%), Mars, Venus (0.8, flat) and Sex Wars (0.6, down 14%).

The weeklies turned in mixed results. On the rookie front, Andromeda (3.5, up 9%) continues its reign at the top, but has fallen 19% since its debut. Next came Maximum Exposure (2.3, up 10% from week, up 25% from its debut). After that came Sheena (1.8, down 10% for week), Queen of Swords (1.4, up 8%) and Thunderbox (0.6, down 50%). Among the veterans, leader X-Files (3.8) slipped 5%, followed by ET Weekend (3.5, up 6%) and Xena (3.5, up 9%).

Back to the bad news: all talk shows and court shows slipped for the week, with the exception of Judge Mills Lane (1.9) staying unchanged. Glancing at the leaders, Oprah (6.1, down 8%), Live with Regis (3.9, down 7%), Jerry Springer (3.6, down 12%) and Maury (3.5, down 3%) all tripped up. Also stumbling were such court top dogs as Judge Judy (6.5, down 4%), Judge Joe Brown (3.9, down 5%) and Divorce Court (3.1, down 11%). - Susanne Ault