Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey, and Rosie O'Donnell are other syndicated stars whose ratings are falling

By Joe Flint
Updated April 01, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Judge Judy Sheindlin certainly has impeccable timing. She successfully renegotiated her current contract with syndicator Big Ticket TV just as the latest sweeps results showed her numbers growing by 60 percent since February 1998 — she notched an impressive 7.5 rating (each rating point represents 994,000 viewers). ”She’s a juggernaut,” says media analyst Marc Berman of Seltel, a TV consulting firm. For reference sake, the next-highest-rated court show — Ed Koch’s” The People’s Court” — only mustered a 2.9.

Syndicated talk shows certainly didn’t pack as big a punch as ”Judy.” Although ”The Jerry Springer Show” remains at the top of the heap, his 7.2 rating marks a 10 percent dip from February ’98. ”The Oprah Winfrey Show” is down 18 percent and ”The Rosie O’Donnell Show” lost 16 percent. Quasi-talker ”Martha Stewart Living” took a whopping 20 percent drop. ”She should be looking for a recipe to stop audience erosion,” cracks Berman. The lone bright spot (and it’s a stretch) is ”The Maury Povich Show,” which at least managed not to lose any viewers from a year ago. As for the new yak-fests — ”The Roseanne Show,” ”The Howie Mandel Show,” and ”Donny & Marie” — they still can barely crack a 2 rating. Berman attributes the all-around grim numbers to a cluttered market.

”Xena: Warrior Princess” still reigns over the syndicated action genre, but even her devoted following dipped 29 percent, which left her sharing the crown with ”Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.”