Cable Viewers Feeling Sporty

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Sports and sports-entertainment programming ruled cable’s primetime roost last week.

Spike TV’s presentation of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s WWERaw franchise pinned ad-supported cable’s first and third spots the week of May 16-22. The second hour (10 p.m.-11:08 p.m.) of the grappling show May 16 pinned a 4.5 household rating, 0.4 more than the earlier hour, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

FX’s coverage of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup race May 21 sped to a 4.3 average for nearly four hours that evening.

National Basketball Association playoff action was also well-represented in the top 10 for the week: Turner Network Television grabbed the fourth spot with a 3.7 May 18 for game five of the series between the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks and a slice of sixth with a 3.4 two nights later for the series’ decisive contest.

Installments of Nickelodeon’s Fairly OddParents (three) and SpongeBob SquarePants (two) also claimed top 10 positions, according to the Nielsen data.

In the primetime-household-ratings race, TNT led all basic-cable networks with a 2.0 average, 0.2 points ahead of Nick at Nite. USA Network was third with a 1.7 mark, while Disney Channel and Lifetime Television ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10: Cartoon Network with a 1.4; Spike TV and FX, both with a 1.3; and TBS and Fox News Channel, with a 1.2 apiece.

Gauged on a total-programming-day basis, Nickelodeon was first with a 1.7, ahead of sister and channel-sharer NAN’s 1.4. Turner-owned services claimed the next three spots, as TNT scored a 1.2, while Cartoon and its late-night spinoff, Adult Swim, both registered 1.1 marks.

Adult Swim’s repurposed presentation of Fox’s Family Guy May 16 at 11:30 p.m. posted a 2.6 household rating and earned the late-night service’s highest-ever adults 18-34 delivery with 1.34 million of those viewers.