Basic Cable Up 10% in Sweeps Stakes


New York -- The November "sweeps" period is a
time when the broadcast networks typically air some of their strongest programming in
order to goose ratings for their affiliates.

But basic cable continued its strong climb during the first
two weeks of the month, gaining 10 percent in household ratings from a year ago, according
to Turner Entertainment Research's analysis of Nielsen Media Research ratings.

A Rugrats Thanksgiving special gave Nickelodeon its
highest-rated show ever, with a 9.4 national rating (in all 99.4 million homes) among kids
aged two to 11 in its debut Nov. 10. The show earned a 4.7 overall rating in the cable

Basic cable's ratings stood at an average of 23.3,
versus 21.1 for the same period a year ago. The six broadcast networks (excluding Pax TV)
declined by 7 percent, from 37.7 to 35.8. Among the broadcasters, only The WB Television
Network gained ground, rising by an impressive 21 percent, from 2.9 to 3.5.

In household delivery, basic cable was up 12 percent, from
20.714 million homes to 23.166 million, while the six broadcast networks declined by 4
percent, from 36.97 million homes to 35.6 million.

Among adults 18 to 49, basic-cable ratings rose by 7
percent for the first two weeks of November, while the six broadcast networks declined by
9 percent.

For the week of Nov. 9, USA Network edged
out ESPN in primetime, 2.6 to 2.4, with Turner Network Television (2.1),
Nick (2.0) and TBS Superstation (1.9) rounding out the top five.

ESPN's Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions Sunday-night
National Football League game was the top-rated show of the week, with an 8.1. As usual,
wrestling was strong, taking five of the top 10 spots. USA's WWF Wrestling
held spots Nos. 2, 3 and 8, beating out TNT's WCW Monday Nitro, which finished
No. 4 and No. 10.

Rugrats took four of the top 12 spots.

Among adults 18 to 49, ESPN's NFL game led the pack by
a wide margin, with 4.462 million homes. Wrestling, more NFL coverage and Comedy
Central's South Park filled out the top 10.