Basic Cable Breaks Record Again

Publish date:
Updated on

New York -- Another week, another ratings record for
basic-cable networks.

Buoyed by the news networks' coverage of President
Clinton's Monica Lewinsky mea culpa, basic cable averaged a 25.8 rating for the week
of Aug. 17, one week after it set a record with a 25.0 rating, according to Turner
Broadcasting System Inc.'s analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

For August, basic cable averaged a 24.3 rating, 14 percent
higher than the 21.3 that it drew last August. The "Big Four" broadcast networks
averaged a 22.3, losing 10 percent of their rating, as their household delivery dipped by
9 percent. Cable's household numbers rose by 15 percent, to 23.8 million homes,
according to TBS' figures.

Cable News Network's coverage of the Clinton address
Aug. 17 led the ratings pack with a 7.3, but CNN's rivals did better than usual, as
well. While CNN drew a 2.1 primetime rating for the week -- good for fourth place -- MSNBC
and Fox News Channel each earned 0.7 ratings, significantly better than what they usually

Nickelodeon won the primetime and daily ratings races, with
marks of 2.4 and 1.6, respectively.

Interestingly, the entertainment networks also performed
well last week.

While the final August tallies were not in, several
networks said they had stronger-than-usual months, including The History Channel, Cartoon
Network, FNC and CNBC.

Meanwhile, The Weather Channel reported that its viewership
reached a 1.9 rating Aug. 18 at 9:30 p.m., during its coverage of Hurricane Bonnie.