Riding the heat of yet another original telefilm, Disney Channel claimed top honors in the primetime household ratings race from July 14 to 20.
Disney's 3.0 household rating for the July 18 premiere of Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off
— which finished 10th among all cable shows — helped the network average a 2.1 in primetime during the period, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
The movie joins an impressive list of network-produced films, such as last month's Even Stevens Movie, which have delivered strong ratings performances for Disney over the last six months.
Disney's 1.4 total-day rating, meanwhile, fell an eyelash just short of catching perennial measurement king Nickelodeon, which averaged a 1.5 rating on a 24-hour basis for the week.
Lifetime, TNT next
Lifetime Television, boosted by a 2.6 rating for its July 15 original movie Going for Broke, finished second with a 1.9 average in primetime. TNT's July 14 telecast of the New England 300 NASCAR race (4.7 rating) took the checkered flag first among all cable shows for the week, but could only push the network to a third-place finish with a 1.8 mark.
TBS Superstation, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network (all tied with a 1.6), USA Network (1.5), ESPN (1.3), Fox News Channel and A&E Network (1.2) rounded out the top 10.
TBS finished tops among adults 18 to 49 in both primetime (981,000 of those viewers) and total-day (620,000), while sister service TNT finished second in the same demo categories in both prime (917,000) and total-day (557,000), according to Turner Entertainment Research.
ESPN's Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, minus Major League mashers Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez and hometown Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, finished second among all cable shows for the week with a 4.3 rating, despite a 29% falloff from last year's edition.
continued to pace all original basic-cable primetime scripted series, generating a 3.1 for its July 18 episode.
Comedy Central also had strong ratings news with the July 23 series premiere of Reno 911!, a character-driven send-up of the traditional cop drama, registered a 1.9 household rating and some 2.2 million viewers. Reno 911! joins Chappelle's Show as the only series on the network to ever build on South Park's lead-in.
Cable cools overall
Overall, basic cable's Nielsen performance cooled somewhat from July 14 to 20, relative to the blistering pace it has set this summer.
After breaking through the 55-share barrier for the first time during the week of June 23 to June 29 — and bettering its marks in the two succeeding weeks — the industry chalked up a 53.8 share during the period in question.
Nonetheless, that gave ad-supported cable a 15.9-share-point edge over the seven broadcast networks' aggregate 37.9 share, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen data.