TBS Bats Its Way To Primetime Ratings With Baseball

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TBS’s coverage of the American League Championship Series, highlighted by the medium’s biggest-ever Nielsen score with baseball, drove the network to the top of basic-cable’s primetime ratings last week.

TBS, lifted by the record 13.4 million watchers who tuned in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-1 triumph Oct. 19 over the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS, averaged a 3.7 household rating and 5.04 million viewers in primetime the week of Oct. 13-19, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

That put the "very funny" network, whose ALCS coverage yielded four of the medium’s top 11 shows last week, 1.1 ratings points ahead of Fox News Channel, which averaged a 2.6 and just under 3.3 million viewers on average for the week. The cable-news sector leader was pumped by coverage of the third and final 2008 Presidential debate on Oct. 15, which yielded 9.07 million watchers, third for the week.

The forum between Democratic hopeful Barack Obama and GOP nominee John McCain also lifted CNN and MSNBC into the top 10. CNN, which attracted 8.9 million viewers to the debate, good for fourth for the week, finished sixth overall with a 1.7 household average and 2.22 million viewers, while MSNBC, also bolstered by the political season, was eighth with a 1.3 average and 1.57 million viewers.

ESPN, led by the 11.4 million viewers (second for the week) who watched the Cleveland Browns upset the previously undefeated New York Giants on the Oct. 13 edition of Monday Night Football, was third with a 2.2 average and an average audience of 2.9 million.

USA Network was fourth with a 2.1 rating and 2.7 million viewers, while Disney Channel was fifth at a 1.9 and 2.4 million viewers.

Nick at Nite was seventh with a 1.5 rating and 1.86 million watchers. Rounding out the top 10 were TNT, Lifetime and Cartoon Network all of which finished the period with a 1.2 household rating average.

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