NFL Coverage Delivers Key Demos for ESPN


Lifetime Television edged ESPN for household honors, but the total-sports network wore the primetime ratings crown in key adult demographics last week.

The women-targeted channel posted a 2.2 primetime average from Sept. 16 through Sept. 22, just ahead of the 2.1 registered by ESPN, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Turner Network Television and Nickelodeon tied for third for the week with a 1.8, while Cartoon Network was next with a 1.6.

Rounding out the top 10: USA Network (1.5); TBS Superstation and Fox News Channel (each at 1.2); The Learning Channel (1.1); and Discovery Channel and TNN: The National Network (tied at 1.0).

On a total-day basis, Nickelodeon was tops with a 1.5, besting Lifetime's 1.2, Cartoon's 1.1, TNT's 1.0 and ESPN and TBS, each with a 0.9 average.

ESPN had the top-rated show for the week: a 6.2 household mark for the Sept. 22 Sunday Night Football
contest between the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. The net finished first among adults 18 to 34 (667,000 of those watchers on average), adults 18 to 49 (1.31 million) and adults 25 to 54 (1.26 million).

Despite being ESPN's lowest-rated National Football League game of the 2002 season, the pigskin contest was basic-cable's single most-watched show among the aforementioned demos last week.

MTV: Music Television — riding Road Rules
installments — was second among adults 18 to 34, averaging 471,000 of those viewers, according to the Turner analysis.

TNT was second among adults 18 to 49, averaging 998,000 of those watchers, while Lifetime, with 1.19 million, trailed only ESPN with the older adult group.

Among other demographics, new episodes of the fourth season of Dragon Ball Z
— which anchors Cartoon's afternoon "Toonami" block of anime
— were the top shows for the week among tweens aged 9 to 14, boys 9 to 14 and males 12 to 24.

Nick dominated among kids 2 to 11. Various episodes of SpongeBob Square Pants, Fairly Odd Parents, Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats, Rocket Power

and Hey Arnold
claimed 29 of the 30 top spots on cable and broadcast combined (CBS's Survivor Thailand
on Sept. 19 was No. 10 with this group), according to an MTV Networks analysis.

Back on the household beat, Lifetime's original film Obsessed
earned a 4.3 household rating to place second, ahead of TNT's coverage of a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Winston Cup race, which drove a 4.0 on the afternoon of Sept. 22.