November is in the books as far as the Nielsens are concerned, and ESPN, like a halfback weaving down the sideline, hit primetime paydirt.
Fueled by the top five shows of the month -- four National Football League games and a Thursday-night college-football game featuring top-ranked Miami -- ESPN averaged a 2.4 from Oct. 28 through Nov. 24, according to Nielsen Media Research. That represented a 33 percent improvement from November 2001.
Lifetime Television, down 5 percent, was second with a 1.8 average, followed by Turner Network Television with a 1.7 (up 13 percent), and Nickelodeon (up 7 percent) and USA Network (down 6%), both at a 1.6.
Rounding out the top 10: Fox News Channel (up 8 percent), TBS Superstation (down 30 percent) and Cartoon Network (down 8 percent); The Learning Channel, boosted by its Saturday-night duo of Trading Spaces and While You Were Out, at a 1.1 (up 38 percent); and Sci Fi Channel with a 1.0, up 43 percent. It was also Sci Fi's best November ever.