Nickelodeon's extended push into primetime for kids --
the new 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. "Nickel-O-Zone" -- debuted last week with sizable
ratings increases, far outdistancing its rivals, officials said.
Last Monday and Tuesday -- the first two nights that the
primetime block aired -- Nick averaged a 5.3 national rating and 22 share with kids two to
11, or 2.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied by Nick.
That was a 66 percent increase over ratings for that time slot a year ago.
From 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on those two nights, Nick's
kids' ratings soared 124 percent over the same period a year ago, averaging a 4.7.
With its showing both nights, Nick dominated both
broadcasters and cable networks in the kids' arena during Nickel-O-Zone's
hour-long primetime block.
"We validated the fact that kids are underserved from
8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.," said Cyma Zarghami, Nick's executive vice president and
general manager. "Our increases are pretty significant."
Nick had already been airing kids' shows from 8 p.m.
to 8:30 p.m., but it expanded that presence by half an hour last week, to 9 p.m. The
network, arguing that broadcasters have abandoned the children's audience in
primetime, is trying to carve out a place for kids in the evening.
Nickel-O-Zone's nightly schedule is a mix of new and
veteran animated and live-action shows. In addition to Cousin Skeeter and Wild
Thornberrys, one of the new series that premiered last week in the special block was Animorphs.
On Aug. 31, Nickel-O-Zone's Monday premiere night, Hey
Arnold! scored a 6.2 kids' rating at 8 p.m. It was followed by The Journey of
Allen Strange, which earned a 4.7 kids' rating.
Nick outdistanced Disney Channel's 2.4 kids'
rating last Monday for the latter's 8 p.m. airing of The Mighty Ducks, and it
beat Fox Family Channel's Mr. Bill, which earned a 0.5 kids' rating. For
kids, Nick also topped CBS, Cartoon Network and the Fox broadcast network. The broadcast
networks are still largely in repeats.
Last Tuesday, The Wild Thornberrys at 8 p.m. did a
5.4 rating, while Cousin Skeeter at 8:30 p.m. drew a 4.7, Nick officials said.
That Tuesday showing also whipped the broadcasters and
cable. For example. ABC's Home Improvement last Tuesday at 8 p.m. did a 2.2
rating with kids, and Nick also outperformed Fox's King of the Hill with kids
that night. The animated Fox show earned a 2.0 kids rating. Disney Channel's Cats
Don't Dance did a 1.6 kids rating that night.