Disney Lifts Kids 2-11 Crown from Nick in 2012

Viacom Net Held Top Spot in Key Demo for Last 17 years

Disney Channel says it will finish 2012 as the No. 1 network among kids 2 to 11, breaking Nickelodeon's 17-year stranglehold on the key total-day demographic. The network averaged 950,000 viewers in the demo, according to data from Nielsen, whose measurement year officially ends on Dec. 30.

Among total viewers, Disney, it appears, will finish just shy of beating Nickelodeon, averaging 1.69 million viewers to Nick's 1.7 million. In 2011, Nick's had a wider 379,000 total viewer lead over Disney.

Disney was also the top network with kids 6 to 11, averaging 632,000 viewers, for the second consecutive year and with kids 9 to 14, averaging 529,000 viewers, for the fourth year running in total day. In primetime, the network stretched its streak to 12 years with tweens 9 to 14 (893,000) and 10 years with kids 6 to 11 (1.1 million viewers).

The network's 2012 performance was helped by hit series like Good Luck Charlie, Phineas and Ferb and the TV movie Let It Shine.

Nickelodeon, for its part, has been trying to reverse its downward slide in the Nielsen ratings that began last year. In August the Viacom-owned network named Russell Hicks president of content development and production overseeing a new development team. The executive shuffle also saw the exit of animation president Brown Johnson, who had been in the position since 2008.