Tight Race for Basic Primetime Crown


Last week was a tight one atop basic cable's primetime-household-ratings
roost, with the top five networks separated by 0.2 ratings points.

Lifetime Television led the way, averaging a 2.0 household rating June 17
through 23. The women's-targeted network topped Turner Network Television's 1.9
average, which nipped USA Network, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, all of which
posted a 1.8, according to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen
Media Research data.

Rounding out the top 10: TBS Superstation with a 1.6; Discovery Channel at a
1.2; A&E Network and Fox News Channel, both at a 1.0; and TNN: The National
Network, The Learning Channel and ESPN, all at a 1.0.

Gauged on a total-day basis, Nickelodeon was in its usual first-place perch,
averaging a 1.6, ahead of Cartoon and Lifetime with 1.3 and 1.2 averages,
respectively. USA, TBS and TNT were next, all with 0.9 averages measured on the
24-hour basis, according to the Turner analysis.

It was a clean sweep for USA in primetime among the key adult demos, as the
general-entertainment network was tops among the 18-through-34 set (an average
of 578,000 of those watchers), the 18-through-49 group (1.18 million) and the
25-through-54 crowd (1.19 million).

Despite a 7:20 a.m. kickoff June 21, ESPN's coverage of the U.S. men's soccer
team's swan song in the 2002 World Cup tournament was the highest-rated program
of the week, averaging a 4.4 household rating.

The U.S. team's 1-0 loss to Germany edged TNN's presentation of World
Wrestling Entertainment Inc. fare, which earned a 4.3 from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
June 17, and TBS' presentation of theatrical U.S. Marshals, which scored
a 3.6 June 23 from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.