Ratings Sun Still Shines on Lifetime

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Lifetime Television finished the last week of the summer in the same spot where it spent most of the warm-weather months: atop basic cable's primetime ratings.

Meanwhile, a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau study indicated that August was basic cable's best-ever month, in terms of household share.

The women's-targeted network, which won the monthly primetime races during July and August, ranked first from Aug. 27 through Sept. 2 with a 2.2 average, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

That performance placed Lifetime ahead of TBS Superstation and ESPN's 1.7 averages. Rivals Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network finished fourth and fifth with a 1.6 and a 1.5, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10: USA Network and A&E Network with a 1.4; Turner Network Television and Discovery Channel at a 1.2; and The Learning Channel with a 1.1 average.

On a total-day basis, perennial champ Nickelodeon's 1.4 edged Lifetime's 1.3, according to the Turner analysis. Cartoon was third with a 1.0, followed by TBS, USA, A&E and TNT, all with a 0.8.

Among the adult demos, Lifetime also set the pace: It averaged 883,000 viewers among adults 18 to 49 and 1.06 million with the 25-to-54 set. ESPN and TBS ranked second and third with each of those groups.

For the week, the medium's highest-rated shows among households were the two halves of Raw Is War —
TNN: The National Network's World Wrestling Federation offering — on Aug. 27. Raw's 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour pinned a 5.0, versus the preceding hour's 4.7.

TNT's coverage of the Mountain Dew Southern 500
was third. The National Association for Stock Car Racing event averaged a 4.4 over more than four-and-a-half hours during the afternoon on Sept. 2. But the race took the checkered flag among adults 25 to 54, attracting 3.4 million from that group. It finished third among 18- to 49-year-olds with 2.88 million of those viewers.

The top movies in terms of household ratings were Lifetime's Sleeping With The Devil
with a 3.4 on Aug. 27 and Gone In The Night, Part II, which scored a 2.6 on Sept. 2. Workhorse theatrical As Good As It Gets
also grabbed a 2.6 rating for TBS that night.

CAB, measuring August as a five-week span from July 30 through Sept. 2, said that basic cable posted a 49.9 share, its highest monthly performance ever.

That share total was up 8.2 percent from the 46.1 share during August 2000 (July 31 through Sept. 3, 2000). The CAB analysis also found that the seven broadcast networks saw their collective share decline 7.1 percent to a 40.5 share last month from a 43.6 the year before.

Cable's primetime ratings increased 7 percent to a 27.5 this August, while the seven broadcasters' weighted gross average declined 7.8 percent to a 22.4.

On a delivery basis, cable was up 9.5 percent to 28.3 million households in August from 25.9 million in that month last year. The broadcast group, meanwhile, saw their delivery fall 5.9 percent to just under 23 million households.

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