Despite stiff competition from other cable networks --
ranging from a special on the Titanic to Monica Lewinsky coverage -- Fox Family
Channel's debut Aug. 15 far outpaced its predecessor, The Family Channel, in the
ratings, especially among the kids and young adults that the relaunched network is
targeting, officials said last week.
"We were very happy," Fox Family president Rich
Cronin said. "The basic goal was to try to broaden the audience, and we did
The Family Channel relaunched as Fox Family Channel, with a
whole new lineup of programming, at noon on Saturday, Aug. 15. During that kickoff
weekend, Fox Family saw hefty viewership increases in children and adults 18 to 49,
according to Nielsen Media Research data cited by Cronin.
From noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 15, Fox Family did a 0.3 rating
with kids two to 11 -- triple the 0.1 that Family had averaged during the third quarter to
date for that time span.
From 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday to Sunday -- the
primetime/evening period, with Mrs. Doubtfire as its centerpiece -- Fox Family
scored a 1.7 household rating, marking a 55 percent increase from the 1.1 that Family had
averaged in the third quarter to date, and a 143 percent increase from the 0.7 that Family
posted on that same Saturday last year, according to Cronin.
Fox Family made strides in attracting 18- to 49-year-olds.
"We did what we hoped to do: bring younger adults to the set," Cronin said.
On Saturday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fox Family did a 0.9 in
that young-adult demographic -- a 125 percent increase from the 0.4 that Family averaged
in the third quarter to date, and triple the 0.3 that the network earned on the comparable
Saturday last year, according to Cronin.
Fox Family's household rating for Sunday, Aug. 16,
from 6 p.m. to midnight, was a 1.3, which was even with what Family had done in the third
quarter to date, Cronin said.
But Fox Family did bump up its viewership in the key 18- to
49-year-old demographic, delivering a 0.7 rating, or a 75 percent increase from the 0.4
that Family had done in that age group in the quarter to date, and a 133 percent increase
from the 0.3 that Family scored on the comparable Sunday a year ago.
The week that Fox Family launched, from Aug. 10 to 16, saw
record gains for basic-cable ratings. But as an individual network, Fox Family faced tough
competition in terms of other cable programming during the weekend of Aug. 15 to 16.
"Our competitors lined up the heavy artillery,"
Cronin said. "I was nervous going into the weekend."
For example, on Aug. 15, Nickelodeon aired 12 hours of
Nicktoons TV, capped by the kickoff of a new season of Rugrats. Disney Channel
aired The Lion King on that same Saturday in primetime. And Discovery Channel aired
its Titanic Live coverage Sunday in primetime, while doing "Supershark
Sunday" kids' programming that morning.
In fact, TBS Superstation's first airing of The
American President that weekend, on Aug. 16, delivered the largest audience of any
theatrical in basic-cable history.
"That's the kind of competition that we were up
against," Cronin said.
However, he added, it was too early to make any predictions
about where Fox Family's ratings will stabilize now that the hubbub of the relaunch
kickoff is over.
"The launch weekend is a different animal,"
Cronin said. "It will take a few weeks to know where the ratings will settle
Fox Family's airing of Mrs. Doubtfire tied for
No. 13 on the list of top-rated cable shows for the week of Aug. 10 to 16, with a 3.4.