ESPN, USA Top Weekly Ratings

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ESPN's coverage of pro football continued to rule basic cable's primetime roost, but a pair of films -- an original and a theatrical -- helped USA Network to finish second in the weekly ratings race last week.

The total sports network tackled a 2.4 average Nov. 11 through 17, buoyed by its presentation of the Oakland Raiders-New England Patriots National Football League game on the last night of the period, which was No. 1 for the span with an 8.4 household average. Its NFL PrimeTime lead-in that night ranked second for the week with a 4.0 household average.

USA was second for the week with a 1.9 average led by original movie Murder in Greenwich, which notched a 3.5 Nov. 15, and theatrical Next Friday, which scored a 3.3 Nov. 17.

Lifetime Television was third for the week with a 1.7, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data, while Turner Network Television was fourth with a 1.7.

Rounding out the top 10: Nickelodeon and TBS Superstation with a 1.5 apiece; Cartoon Network with a 1.4; Fox News Channel at a 1.3; Sci Fi Channel with a 1.1; and TLC -- boosted by its hot Saturday-night block of Trading Spaces and While You Were Out -- with a 1.0.

On a total-day basis, it was Nickelodeon and everyone else. The kids' channel averaged a 1.5 rating over the 24-hour measurement, well ahead of Lifetime's 1.1. There was a logjam for third with USA, Cartoon, ESPN and TNT all knotted with a 1.0.

Back in primetime, ESPN's pigskin production made it tops for the week among the adult demo groups: an average of 772,000 viewers among the 18-through-34 set, 1.56 million of the 18-through-49 crowd and 1.47 million of the 25-through-54 group.

TBS was second among the younger adult group with 533,000 of those watchers on average, while USA was third with 498,000.

The networks flip-flopped with the middle adult group, as USA averaged 1.08 million and TBS 1.07 million.

Among the older adult demo, TNT placed second with 1.07 million of those watchers, to top USA's 1.06 million average for the week.

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