Lifetime Edges ESPN for Weekly Laurels


With four films finishing in the top 50 programs for the week, Lifetime
Television edged out ESPN for primetime ratings honors last week.

The women's-targeted network averaged a 2.1 household rating in primetime
Dec. 17 through 23, topping ESPN's 2.0 average for the week, according to a
Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Nickelodeon was third with a 1.6 average, followed by a pair of Turner
networks at a 1.5: TBS Superstation and Cartoon Network. Turner Network
Television was tied with USA Network for sixth place with a 1.4.

Rounding out the top 10: ABC Family and Fox News Channel, each at a 1.3; and
Discovery Channel and Cable News Network with a 1.2 apiece.

On a total-day basis, Nickelodeon was an easy winner, notching a 1.5 average,
0.3 points ahead of Lifetime and Cartoon. TBS was fourth with a 1.0, while TNT,
ESPN, FNC and CNN were knotted in fifth, registering a 0.8 average for the
24-hour measurement. A&E Network and USA were next, each with a 0.7.

The primetime adult-demo race was a hat trick for ESPN last week. The total
sports network ranked first among 18- to 34-year-olds (568,000), the
18-through-49 crowd (nearly 1.13 million) and the 25-through-54 set (1.22

TBS was second among the younger (521,000) and middle groups (1 million),
while Lifetime scored with adults 25 through 54 (1.02 million).

ESPN's coverage of the National Football League game Dec. 23 between the New
York Jets and Indianapolis Colts was the highest-rated program in basic cable
last week, recording a 6.9 household average.

Its SportsCenter show following the Jets' 29-28 triumph was fourth
with a 3.4, while its NFL PrimeTime show earlier that evening was No. 11.
ESPN's presentation of the Duke-Kentucky college-basketball game Dec. 18 was
seventh with a 3.0 average.

TNN: The National Network grabbed the second and third spots with its two
hours of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. fare Dec. 17, each
pinning a 4.0 household rating.

Nickelodeon had a quartet of shows in the top 10, with a pair apiece of
SpongeBob SquarePants and Hey Arnold episodes capturing household
ratings of at least 2.9.

For its part, Lifetime scored with its Dec. 18 airing of Stolen
, as the movie earned a 3.1 household rating.

Lifetime was also lifted by Road Rage, Unwed Father and The
Christmas Wish
, as each film ranked in the top 50 shows of the week,
according to the Turner analysis.