West Is Best for TNT

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With the premiere runs of its Into the West limited series, perhaps it was Turner Network Television’s manifest destiny to rule basic cable’s primetime ratings last week.

The drama network scalped the competition June 6-12, averaging a 3.1 household rating, almost a full point above runner-up Disney Channel, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Into the West bowed Friday, June 10, at 8 p.m. with a 4.9, making in the No. 2 show for the week, behind TNT’s coverage of game seven of the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference Finals between the Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat, which dunked a record 7.5 rating June 6.

The Steven Spielberg-produced project, which tells the tale of Western migration from the perspective of both the white man and Native Americans, encored later June 10 (earning a 2.7) and again Sunday (a 3.2 top finish in a tie for ninth) and Saturday (a 3.0. good for a share of 15th).

The multiplay strategy also bolstered Disney’s cause. The debut of its telepic, Go Figure -- the June 10 8 p.m. premiere scored a 3.0 -- coupled with a repeats of original-movie favorites Cheetah Girls and Halloweentown High pushed the service into the second spot. Disney, according to network officials, enjoyed its best weekly ratings among households, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14 in some nine months.

USA Network -- which received a 3.1 household mark from original series The 4400 June 12, down from the 4.0 season premiere the week before -- was third with a 1.9, ahead of Nick at Nite and TBS, both of which averaged a 1.6.

Fox News Channel and Lifetime Television -- the latter of which was aided by a 2.6 for the sixth-season premiere of Strong Medicine, the medium’s longest-running drama, June 12 -- both finished with a 1.5.

The last three rungs of the top 10 were occupied by: MTV: Music Television, boosted by its presentation of its 2005 Movie Awards (a 3.7 to rank sixth); Cartoon Network; and Turner South, aided by Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball games. All of those networks averaged a 1.4 mark in their respective universes.

Gauged on a total-programming-day basis, Nickelodeon was No. 1 again notching a 1.9 average, topping sister service NAN’s 1.5. TNT and Disney were tied for a third with a 1.3, while other basic-cable channel-sharers Cartoon Network and its late-night spinoff, Adult Swim, each pulled a 1.2.

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