Lifetime Set to Win '02 Ratings Crown

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It looks like every Lifetime Television employee will get an extra week of vacation in 2003, as the women's network is on its way to winning the primetime ratings crown for the second year in a row.

Through Sunday, Lifetime has averaged a 2.1 primetime rating this year, up 5 percent compared with the same period last year.

Lifetime has a 17 percent lead over Turner Network Television, its nearest competitor, which is up 13 percent. Nickelodeon is third with a 1.7 (up 6 percent), followed by USA Network (1.7/flat); Cartoon Network and TBS Superstation (both at a 1.6 and down 6 percent each); and ESPN (1.4/up 17 percent).

Fox News Channel's vitriol has propelled it into the top 10 with a 1.2 year-to-date rating. It was followed by A&E Network, which continues to falter, dipping 15 percent to a 1.1 rating.

One of the biggest ratings surprises was The Learning Channel, which averaged a 1.0 rating in primetime (up 11 percent), tying big sister Discovery Channel, which saw its ratings fall 17 percent.

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