Turner Network Television and Nickelodeon emerged from the dog days of August
to finish atop the respective monthly primetime and total-day ratings races.
TNT -- on the strength of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
and acquired skeins such as Law & Order -- finished first in
primetime from July 25-Aug. 31 with a 2.2 household average, a 15% gain from
August 2002, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media
TNT fought off a charging Disney Channel, which boosted its year-to-year
ratings by 43% en route to a 2.0 average in August.
Lifetime Television (1.8, down 14%) finished third, while Nickelodeon (flat)
and Cartoon Network (up 6%) were tied for fourth, each with 1.7 marks.
Rounding out the top 10: USA Network (1.6, down 5%); TBS Superstation (1.5,
even); ESPN (1.3, down 18%); and, tied at 1.2, Fox News Channel (up 20%) and
A&E Network (up 9%).
Nickelodeon continued its dominance of the total-day tally, averaging a 1.4
rating, barely besting fellow kids-targeted networks Cartoon Network and Disney,
which tied with a 1.3 apiece.
Lifetime (1.2), TNT (1.1), TBS (0.9), USA (0.8), Fox News (0.8), ESPN (0.7),
The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, MTV: Music Television and A&E (the
latter four all tied with a 0.6) broke into the top 10.
TNT drew the most viewers aged 18-49 and 25-54 in primetime and total-day
during the month. TBS, however, took top honors in total-day viewing among 18-34
Riding the success of its Aug. 28 2003 MTV Video Music Awards
telecast, MTV easily beat out TNT among viewers 18-34 in primetime.
On the cable-news front, Fox News continued to lead the pack. The network
averaged a 1.2 in primetime, well ahead of Cable News Network (0.8, even), MSNBC
(0.3, down 25% ) and CNBC (0.2, flat).