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Gustav Gives Weather Channel Cume Boom

The Weather Channel said Thursday that its analysis of Nielsen Media Research ratings showed that it was the top-ranked basic-cable network over a three-day period as viewer interest spiked due to Hurricane Gustav.

TWC reached 65 million unduplicated viewers for the three days ended Monday, the day Gustav hit the Louisiana coastline. The network surpassed second-ranked ESPN with a 62 million cume and TBS with a 60 million cume.

In general, TWC said its audience was three to four above regular viewing levels, which is normal during extreme weather.

For Sunday, TWC’s total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m.) household rating was 1.0, or an average of 971,000 homes. Its ratings peaked Sunday during the 10 a.m. quarter-hour with a household rating of 1.8 (1.7 million homes).

“We are proud of this achievement, especially when you consider the political activity being covered by the news networks last weekend and that the sports networks were featuring the opening of the college-football season,” TWC executive vice president of programming and meteorology Ray Ban said in statement.

PHOTO: The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore reported from Houma, LA during Hurricane Gustav.