NBA Drives TNT in May

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Enjoying a lift from the National Basketball Association playoffs, TNT was the top-ranked champion in primetime for cable in May, according to Nielsen Media Research data released Wednesday.

TNT scored a 2.6 household rating, up 8% from May 2005, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen data. TNT was followed by second-place USA Network, which garnered a 2.1 rating, up a whopping 17% over last May. Disney Channel was No. 3 with a 1.9, a 12% gain over last May.

In fourth place was ESPN, which, like TNT, saw a ratings spurt because of its NBA playoff coverage, paired with Major League Baseball. ESPN had a 1.7 rating, up a supersized 55%.

Cartoon Network and Nick at Nite each registered 1.4 ratings in primetime. Cartoon saw a 7% dip from last May, while NAN slid 18%, according to Nielsen.

Also in a tie were Lifetime Television and FX, each with a 1.3. Lifetime slipped 7% from last year, while FX saw a double-digit gain, up 18%.

TBS and Fox News Channel tallied the same primetime rating, a 1.2. Both networks were down 8% from last May.

Hallmark Channel posted a 1.1 rating, up a sizable 38% from last year.

CNBC, ESPN Classic and OLN saw the largest gains in primetime in the month of May, with each up 100% from last year. CNBC and ESPN Classic each posted 0.2 ratings, up from 0.1. OLN registered a 0.4, up from a 0.2.

The biggest losers included Fuse, down 100% from a 0.1 last year, and Style, down 50% to a 0.1, according to Nielsen.

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