TNT, Nick Topple ESPN


Turner Network Television and Nickelodeon dropped ESPN from the top spot of last week’s primetime-ratings race.

The drama network and the kids’ kingpin each averaged a 2.1 household mark Dec. 1-8, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

ESPN -- which has been dominating the fall-ratings wars with its pro- and college-football coverage -- was tied for third with Lifetime Television, as both scored a 1.9 during the aforementioned span.

USA Network was fifth with a 1.8, just ahead of the 1.7 notched by TBS Superstation and Disney Channel. Cartoon Network was eighth with a 1.6, while A&E Network was ninth at a 1.3. Fox News Channel and ABC Family -- the latter boosted by its "25 Days of Christmas" programming stunt -- were knotted in the 10th slot, each with a 1.2.

Gauged on a total-day basis, Nickelodeon, with a 1.7, held a 0.5-point advantage over TNT’s 1.2. Lifetime, Disney and Cartoon followed, all with 1.0 marks over the 24-hour measurement.