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Cable ratings win of a Lifetime

Apr 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime Television was the top-ranked basic cable network in prime-time households for the first quarter, just edging out USA Network and TBS.
That marks the first time Lifetime has ever won the quarterly basic cable crown, and it comes on the second anniversary of Carole Black’s tenure as president and CEO. At this time two years ago, the network for women and their families was in fifth place in the category.
Lifetime delivered a 2.0 household rating (1,584,000 homes), beating USA (1,538,000 homes) and TBS (1,535,000 homes), both of which pulled a 1.9.
Other highlights from the first quarter include:
* TBS Superstation, which says it’s targeting “regular guys,” proclaimed itself No. 1 both in prime time and on a total-day basis with men 18 to 49 and men 25 to 54. TBS is up 24 percent in prime time in those two demos, compared with first quarter 2000.
When it comes to the theatrical films regular guys like to zone out in front of, it was TBS all the way with the top five movies in the quarter, starring-not surprisingly-the action pack of Steven Seagal (“Hard to Kill”), Tom Cruise (“A Few Good Men”), Sly Stallone (“Cliffhanger”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Total Recall”). Believe it or not, the network’s “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” ended the quarter as basic cable’s No. 1 original series among adults 18 to 49 and adults 25 to 54 as well as among those regular guys the Superstation is targeting.
* MTV was No. 1 in its target younger demos, 12 to 24, 12 to 34 and 18 to 24. As for its core 12- to 24-year-old audience, it has been in first place 16 consecutive quarters and counting. Time-period 12 to 34 demo victors include the original series “MTV Cribs,” “Diary” and “Jackass.”
* Court TV saw a 40 percent increase in overall prime-time viewing levels on a year-to-year basis. Court’s spectators totaled, on average, 457,000, compared with 326,000 for the same quarter one year ago.
If that audience seems minuscule, Court wants you to know that its “$50,000-plus prime-time audience income index of 113 exceeds that of A&E [105] and Discovery [106]”-which means, a Court spokesperson explained, not that Court has more upscale viewers than the other two networks but that its percentage of upscale viewers, compared with its own total audience, is higher than that of the other two networks. As for Court’s key demos, they’re up on year-to-year basis by 43 percent for adults 25 to 54 and 70 percent for women 18 to 54.
* There was joy in Toonville, too, since the Cartoon Network posted its highest-ever first-quarter prime-time numbers and, with a 1.7 rating for households, kerplunked into fourth place among other ad-supported cable networks. The Cartoon Network posted double-digit year-to-year increases in its key demos as well, up 28 percent in its delivery of tweens to 347,000 from 272,000 last year.
* Turner Network Television’s numbers quarter to quarter increased by double digits in prime time and total day for both its target demos, adults 18 to 49 and adults 25 to 54, which the network has dubbed “drama lovers.” Those two categories are up 30 percent and 27 percent, respectively, for total day over first quarter 2000. TNT also emerges with basic cable’s highest-rated program for the quarter, “Louis L’Amour’s Crossfire Trail,” which delivered a 9.6 rating in TNT homes.
* Bravo recorded its highest-ever quarter, with an average prime-time rating of 0.4, up from its 0.35 average prime-time rating in first quarter 2000. A March airing of the original “Godfather” theatrical gave Bravo its highest-ever rating (1.43 in its cable universe); not surprisingly then, Godfather Saga Week will begin on Bravo on May 6.
* TNN and E! Entertainment Television are two other networks touting best-ever quarters. TNN scored well enough with its target demo, adults 18 to 49, to make it into the prime-time top 10 in both households (No. 10) and adults 18 to 49 (No. 7). E! ended the quarter with a prime-time gain of 34 percent in household viewership vs. first quarter 2000.
* On the all-news, all-the-time front, Fox News Channel is reporting that on a full-quarter basis it has beaten all cable news networks in prime time, and that in the Bill O’Reilly vs. Larry King war it was Mr. O’Reilly with 1,114,000 viewers to Mr. King’s 1,097,000 viewers. That’s significant considering CNN is available in 20 million more households than Fox.
CNN, however, can point to its 25 to 54 demo win in prime time and its total-day win in that demo and in households.
* Networks on the losing side in prime time included USA, down 25 percent in adults 18 to 49 and 19 percent in households from a year ago, and ESPN, down 17 percent in the demo and 16 percent in households.