Duke, Pro Bowl Boost ESPN


Aided by its college-hoops rivalry week and the last vestige of the National Football League season, ESPN tied Turner Network Television for the top spot in basic cable’s primetime last week.

Both networks averaged 2.0 household ratings Feb. 7-13, according to a Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

ESPN scored big with the NFL’s Pro Bowl from Hawaii, as the all-star game tackled a 5.1 rating Feb. 13, the best mark for any program in the industry last week. The total-sports network also benefited from two highly ranked college-basketball games -- Duke against North Carolina Feb. 9 and the Blue Devils versus Maryland Feb. 12.

Per usual, the drama network scored with its encores of Law & Order.

Nick at Nite was third with a 1.8 average, just ahead of a 1.7 logjam among USA Network, Cartoon Network and Lifetime Television.

Rounding out the top 10: Disney Channel with a 1.6; TBS and Comedy Central -- the latter of which jumped to the most-watched week in its history behind the premiere of its Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again special, the second most-viewed show in the network’s history -- each at a 1.5; and Fox News Channel at a 1.3.