ESPN Edges TNT in Sept. Primetime


The September scorecard is in the books, and ESPN edged out Turner Network Television for primetime-ratings laurels.

The total-sports network -- aided by the span’s top three shows, all National Football League games -- averaged a 2.2 household rating between Aug. 30-Sept. 26, according to a Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

That performance put ESPN 0.1 points ahead of TNT, as the drama proponent pulled a 2.1 for the month.

Fox News Channel, benefiting from its coverage of the Republican National Convention, was third with a 2.0.

Nick at Nite -- aided by original animated series Fatherhood and acquisition The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air -- was fourth with a 1.7, ahead of Cartoon Network, Lifetime Television, USA Network and Disney Channel, all of which finished with 1.6 marks. Spike TV -- buoyed by a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation marathon early in the period and a new 8 p.m. weeknight time slot for the forensics drama (which also airs in the hour-earlier period) -- ranked ninth with a 1.4. TBS completed the top 10 at a 1.2.

Finishing just off the pace was A&E Network, which averaged a 1.1, as well as FX, MTV: Music Television, Sci Fi Channel and The Weather Channel. The latter saw its viewership soar behind interest in the rash of hurricanes that have devastated Florida and other southern states.

Last week, Sept. 20-26, ESPN was first with a 2.4 mark, ahead of Fox News, which posted a 1.8, and USA at a 1.7, according to the Disney-ABC analysis.

Rounding out the top 10: Nick at Nite and Cartoon, both at 1.6; TNT, Lifetime and Disney, each with a 1.5; TBS at a 1.4; and Spike with a 1.3 average.