Primetime Cable Race Tightens Up


ESPN, driven by its pro-football coverage, held a substantial lead, but otherwise, the primetime cable landscape was especially competitive last week.

The "Total Sports Network" -- boosted by the 8.0 household mark for its St. Louis Rams-Baltimore Ravens National Football League matchup Sunday night, the period’s highest-rated show -- posted a 2.7 from Nov.3-9, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Nickelodeon was second for the week with a 1.9, and the kids’ kingpin held a 0.2-point edge over rivals Cartoon Network and Disney Channel, as well as USA Network and Turner Network Television, all of which finished with a 1.7.

Lifetime Television and TBS Superstation were next as both recorded 1.6 ratings. The Learning Channel and A&E Network completed the top 10, each with a 1.2, to ease past MTV: Music Television and A&E Network (1.1 apiece).

Discovery Channel, AMC and ESPN2 weren’t far behind, logjammed with 1.0 averages.