ESPN Ratings Go Deep with Baseball


Baseball was very good to ESPN last week -- with the Nielsens.

Coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs connected with viewers, representing four of the week’s six-highest-rated shows. Baseball’s best: a 6.7 household rating Oct. 3 for game three of the Chicago Cubs-Atlanta Braves National League Division Series.

Adding in its presentation of the Sept. 5 National Football League matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, the period’s fourth-biggest show, ESPN averaged a 3.8 household rating Sept. 29-Oct. 5, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

ESPN also swept up the key adult rankings for the week, finishing No. 1 among adults 18-34 (1.01 million of those viewers), 18-49 (2.21 million) and 25-54 (2.25 million), according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen data.

Moreover, the network -- which also saw a viewer surge with a number of afternoon MLB playoff contests -- was tops in total-day with a 1.6 average.

The Learning Channel had the highest-rated show for the week, as its special Oct. 5 edition of Trading Spaces
, which featured a $100,000 makeover, generated a 7.0 household rating.

That program -- as well as the three top-21 finishes for a trio of series installments Sept. 29 -- pushed TLC into second for the week with a 2.1 mark. It also placed second among the aforementioned adult demo groups, topped by an average of 1.54 million 25-54 watchers.

Turner Network Television and Disney Channel were tied for third with a 1.8 household average, ahead of the 1.7 rung up by both Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

USA Network and Lifetime Television were next with a 1.4 apiece, while TBS Superstation and ESPN2 completed the top 10 with a 1.2 average each. The latter also benefited from MLB postseason action.

Home & Garden Television scored a 0.8 household average in primetime, its best-ever performance during the first official week of the new TV season, network officials said. The performance represented a 33% gain from the corresponding year-ago span.