TBS Scores Demo Hat Trick


Lifetime Television was the leader, while TBS Superstation and ESPN nipped at
its heels in basic cable's primetime-ratings derby last week.

The women's-targeted service averaged a 2.0 household rating Nov. 12 through
18, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media
Research data. That gave Lifetime a 0.1-point lead over the 1.9 average for both
TBS and ESPN during the third week of November.

USA Network was fourth at a 1.7, trailed by Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
holdings Cartoon Network and Cable News Network, each at a 1.6.

Nickelodeon was seventh with a 1.5, while Turner Network Television and Fox
News Channel each finished with 1.4 averages. The latter had claimed the top
spot in the all-news ratings race from CNN during the prior week.

According to the Turner analysis, there was a three-way tie for the
10th position in primetime, as A&E Network, Discovery Channel and
TNN: The National Network garnered a 1.0 apiece.

It was business as usual on the total-day side of the ledger, as Nick was the
leader with a 1.4 average. CNN -- lifted by a big audience for its coverage of
the crash of American Airlines flight 587 Nov. 12 -- was tied for second with
Lifetime at a 1.2. Cartoon was fourth at a 1.1, ahead of TBS' and FNC's 1.0.

For its part, TBS scored a hat trick with key demos, according to the Turner
analysis, ranking as basic cable's leader with adults 18 through 34, 18 through
49 and 25 through 54 for the third successive sweeps week in both primetime and
total day.

From Nov. 12 through 18, TBS averaged 686,000 18-through-34 viewers in
primetime and 277,000 on a 24-hour basis. Among the 18-through-49 group, TBS
averaged 1.21 million and 621,000 viewers in the respective classifications for
the week, and 1.27 million and 611,000 watchers, respectively, of the older

A trio of movies -- original martial-arts picture Invincible and
workhorse theatricals Lethal Weapon 4 and Pretty Woman -- helped
to set the pace for TBS' demo triumph.

The brainchild of martial-arts star Jet Li and Mel Gibson, Invincible
was the third most-watched program among adults 25 through 49 and fourth with
18- through 49-year-olds. Invincible -- which has six encore
presentations Nov. 24 through Dec. 1 -- averaged a 3.0 household rating for its
Nov. 18 premiere from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

However, the picture did not crack the industry's top 10 programs among
households. ESPN's coverage of the Nov. 18 National Football League game between
the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots was first with a 7.7. TNN's
presentation of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. fare Nov. 12 was
tied for third with a 4.2 for the second hour that night and fifth for the 9
p.m. to 10 p.m. slot.

ESPN's SportsCenter following the Rams' 24-17 win was tied for seventh
at a 3.8.

The remaining eight shows were CNN's coverage of the aforementioned
plane-crash tragedy Nov. 12, headed by the 11 a.m. to noon hour, which garnered
a 4.5 rating, according to the Turner analysis.