NFL Gives ESPN Ratings First Down


With early season momentum from its National Football League coverage
continuing, ESPN again wore the household and adult-demo diadems during
primetime last week.

Boosted by the period's top-rated show, the Oakland Raiders' victory over the
Pittsburgh Steelers on the week's last night, ESPN averaged a 2.2 household
rating Sept. 9 through 15.

Lifetime Television was second for the week with a 2.1 household rating,
ahead of the 1.9 rating apiece for Nickelodeon and Turner Network

USA Network, riding the strength of dramatic series Monk and The
Dead Zone
, was fifth with a 1.8, according to a Turner Entertainment
Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Rounding out the top 10 in primetime households: Cartoon Network with a 1.6;
TBS Superstation and Fox News Channel, each with a 1.3; and The Learning Channel
and Cable News Network, both with a 1.0.

The news channels benefited from droves of viewers tuning in ceremonies,
events and other programs commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11
terrorist tragedies.

Raiders-Steelers action was also the top show of the week among adults 18
through 34, 18 through 49 and 25 through 54, spurring ESPN to the lead with
702,000, 1.45 million and 1.47 million of those watchers, respectively, on

Gauged on a total-day basis, Nickelodeon once again ruled the roost,
averaging a 1.6. Lifetime was second with a 1.2, while Cartoon was third at a
1.0. According to the Turner analysis, there was a three-way tie among TNT, TBS
and ESPN at a 0.9.

Pro pigskin coverage also helped ESPN to claim a share of the second spot
among primetime households last week, as NFL PrimeTime (Sept. 15 from
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.), Nick's Fairly Odd Parents (Sept. 15 at 10 a.m.),
Nick's SpongeBob SquarePants (Sept. 14 at 9:30 a.m.) and TLC's Trading
(Sept. 14 at 9 p.m.) all scored a 3.7.

Next, there was also a logjam at 3.5 among USA's Monk (Sept. 13 at 10
p.m.), SpongeBob (Sept. 15 at 9:30 a.m.), ESPN's SportsCenter
(leading out from the football game from 11:52 p.m. to 12:52 a.m.), Fairly
Odd Parents
(Sept. 14 at 10 a.m.), Nick's Jimmy Neutron (Sept. 15 at
10:30 a.m.) and TNN: The National Network's coverage of World Wrestling
Entertainment Inc. fare (10 p.m. Sept. 9).

That performance by WWE programming -- and the 3.3 pinned by the early hour
that evening -- marked the lowest rating for grappling since TNN acquired the
rights two years ago.

The first-season finale of The Dead Zone finished in a tie for
12th for the week at a 3.4.

Elsewhere, Nickelodeon -- riding the strength of various episodes of Jimmy
, Fairly Odd Parents, SpongeBob, Rugrats,
ChalkZone and Rocket Power -- dominated the kids two-through-11
demo, grabbing the top 30 telecasts for the week among both cable and broadcast
outlets, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by MTV Networks.

Nick also notched 28 of the top 30 shows of the week among kids nine through