Driven by its National Football League coverage, ESPN swept all of the key
adult demos and tied for the household ratings lead in primetime last week.
The total-sports network averaged a 1.9 household rating Sept. 30 through
Oct. 6, tying it with Lifetime Television for the weekly lead, according to a
Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
ESPN was buoyed by the most-watched show on basic cable, its Oct. 6
presentation of the Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game, which tackled a 5.9
USA Network and Nickelodeon were knotted in third with a 1.6, ahead of the
1.5 averages for Turner Network Television and Cartoon Network.
Rounding out the top 10: ABC Family, which gained from Major League Baseball
coverage, at a 1.4; TBS Superstation and Fox News Channel, each with a 1.2; and
Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, both with a 1.0.
The NFL game also pushed ESPN to the head of the demo class. ESPN was watched
by an average of 596,000 viewers aged 18 through 34, 1.22 million among the
18-through-49 set, and 1.21 million adults 25 through 54.
Gauged on a total-day basis, Nickelodeon -- with its ubiquitous SpongeBob
SquarePants claiming 16 of the top 50 highest-rated shows of the week --
ranked first with a 1.4. Lifetime was second with a 1.0, while Cartoon was
third. ESPN, TNT and USA were next, each averaging a 0.8.