"Seinfeld" Reruns Hit Record Low

Ratings for "Seinfeld" repeats reached another record low as sitcom reruns suffered from the switch to Daylight Savings Time, according to Nielsen broadcast syndication data for the week of April 15.

The 4.0 household rating for "Seinfeld" represents a 5% dip from the prior week, when the comedy hit its lowest national household rating since debuting in syndication in September 1995. The new score is also down 22% from the sitcom's season-to-date 5.1 average and down 25% from the same week last year.

But the show about nothing was not alone in its difficulties among the off-network sitcom group: "Friends" was down 7% from the prior week to 5.2, down 9% year to year; "Frasier" was down 4% from the prior week and prior year to 4.9; "Drew Carey" was down 6% for the week to 3.3, which is down 15% from last year; and "3rd Rock From the Sun" dipped 3% to 2.9, off 9% year to year.

"Seinfeld" was up against the double-whammy of Daylight Savings Time and the switching of stations in some 13 markets in conjunction with the start of its second syndication cycle.

Traditionally, upon the switch to DST, viewers spend less time inside in front of the tube during prime early evening time periods (5-8 p.m.) when off-network sitcoms often air.

And despite heavy promotion, the moving of stations will typically throw audiences of any series for a temporary loop.

Elsewhere in syndication, bright spots included "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," which bounced back 12% from the previous week to 2.8. The show had dipped 17% week to week for the frame ending April 8 when O'Donnell was out for part of the week with an injury. Co-hosts continued to stand in for her during the week ending April 15.

And among rookie firstrun weekly hours, two shows were up by double-digit percentages over the prior week: "Thunderbox" and "Maximum Exposure." The former moved up 33% to a season high of 1.6, tying for third in the category with "Sheena," which was down 20%. "Maximum Exposure" was second among the batch, moving up 13% to 1.8.

"Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" led the group, although it dropped 13% to 2.6.

The two rookie firstrun shows that have led their category this season and are poised to return in the fall, "Power of Attorney" and "Judge Hatchett," grew and held steady, respectively. "Power" moved up 10% to 2.3; "Hatchett" was flat at 2.0.