NBA Playoffs Drive Ratings Gains for TNT, TBS

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Boosted by its coverage of the National Basketball Association playoffs, Turner Network Television jumped to the top of the Nielsen household primetime ratings last week. In the process, the general-entertainment network knocked Lifetime Television off the first-place perch it held for the first 17 weeks of 2002.

TNT averaged a 2.0 household rating from April 29 to May 5, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. That performance edged Lifetime's 1.9, and won the top spot. Nickelodeon was third (1.8), followed by TBS Superstation (1.7), and USA Network and Cartoon Network (both with a 1.6).

Rounding out the top 10 in primetime: A&E Network and FX at a 1.2; and Discovery Channel and ESPN, each with a 1.0.

Elsewhere, in the all-news sector, Cable News Network averaged a 0.8 for the week. MSNBC recorded a 0.3, while CNBC and CNN Headline News were at a 0.2 apiece.

Gauged on a total-day basis, Nickelodeon was first with a 1.8 average, ahead of Lifetime with a 1.2. Cartoon was third with a 1.1; TNT fourth at a 1.0; and TBS and USA knotted at fifth with a 0.9.

TNT also finished first among adults aged 18 to 49 for the week, garnering an average of 1.22 million of those viewers, while TBS was second with 1.13 million. The same duo were tops among adults 25 to 54 with respective averages of 1.25 million and 1.08 million.

The positions flipped among adults 18 to 34, as TBS and TNT averaged 583,000 and 551,000 of those viewers, respectively.

Through the first 22 games of the NBA playoffs, TNT and TBS posted a 2.2 primetime rating, up 10 percent from a 2.0 average for 20 contests during the same span last year. Delivery improved 15 percent to 1.86 million households.

The pro hoops action also produced gains among adults 18 to 34 (up 13 percent, to 710,000 of those viewers); adults 18 to 49 (ahead 11 percent, to 1.41 million); and adults 25 to 54 (up 9 percent, to 1.34 million).

The fourth game of the Sacramento Kings-Utah Jazz series on April 29 scored a 3.0 household rating and was the No.1-rated sports show for the week among adults 18 to 49 (2.1 million) and adults 25 to 54 (2.04 million).

On a household basis, MTV's white-hot The Osbournes
ranked first again, with a 4.8 average, on April 30. Its lead-in, Real World XI, placed fourth with a 4.1. TNN: The National Network grabbed the second and third spots with its presentation of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. fare.

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