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Controversy, Strong Ratings for Nick, Nick at Nite

As networks await a Nielsen Media Research definition about what constitutes a cable network, the services in the center of the storm, Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite, continue to ring up sizable ratings marks.

With a 2.1 mark, Nick trailed only Turner Network Television’s 2.2 household rating during the week of April 12-18 in primetime, according to an ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of the measurement company’s data.

Nick at Nite, which shares channel space with the kids’ kingpin, was tied with USA Network and The History Channel -- the latter of which was bolstered by its airings of former Home Box Office miniseries Band of Brothers -- for third at a 1.8 household rating.

On the total-day side of the ledger, Nick was first with a 1.8, followed by a 1.4 for its channel-sharing service. TNT was third with a 1.2, while Cartoon Network and Disney Channel each posted a 1.1.

Beginning with the second Nielsen quarter March 29, Nick and Nick at Nite have been rated as separate services. Splitting primetime into nine hours for Nick and one-dozen for the sitcom purveyor has raised the eyebrows and ire of executive at the Viacom Inc. networks’ competitors, which are gauged on a 21-hour primetime basis.

Nielsen told Multichannel News last week that it expects to nail down a more detailed explanation of a “cable network” over the next week or so.