Ricky Runs ESPN to Top of Heap


It wasn’t much of a game unless you enjoyed watching Ricky Williams pounding
it up the gut for 3.5 yards per clip over 40 carries.

But ESPN’s coverage of the Miami Dolphins’ 17-7 triumph over the Buffalo
Bills Sunday night boosted the total sports network to the top of the primetime
ratings heap last week on a household basis, as well as for all key adult

Boosted by the period’s most-watched show, a 9.0 household rating for its
National Football League Dolphins-Bills coverage, ESPN averaged a 2.4 from Sept.
15-21, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media
Research data. That easily beat out Disney Channel and Turner Network
Television, both of which scored a 1.9 for the week.

There was a three-way tie for the third spot, as USA Network, Nickelodeon and
Cartoon Network all posted a 1.7.

Rounding out the top 10: Lifetime Television and TBS Superstation, each at a
1.6; and Fox News Channel and The Learning Channel, each with a 1.1.

Gauged on a total-day basis, Nick was in familiar territory: No. 1 for the
week with a 1.4, according to the ABC Cable analysis. Cartoon and Disney Channel
were second with a 1.2 apiece, while Lifetime and TNT were next, each averaging
a 1.1 over the 24-hour measurement span.

In tandem with its NFL PrimeTime lead-in -- which was second for the
week in households with a 4.2 rating -- ESPN’s Bills-Dolphins presentation also
propelled the network to a weekly first-place finish among adults 18-34 (677,000
of those viewers on average), 18-49 (1.51 million) and 25-54 (1.59 million).

According to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen data, TBS
was second among the younger adults with 471,000 of those watchers, while TNT
was third with 421,000.

The standings were reversed with the older adult-demo groups: TNT was second
with 989,000 of the 18- through 49-year-olds versus 972,000 for TBS, and it
garnered 1.05 million 25-54-viewers on average compared with 970,000 for its
sister network.