Knotted Atop Primetime Ratings

Buoyed by a Cheetah Girls telefilm sequel, Disney Channel tied USA Network at the top of the Nielsen household rating race last week.

Disney Channel averaged a 2.2 household rating and 2.06 million viewers from Aug. 18-24, a mark fortified by the premiere of the Cheetah Girls One World Concert original movie on Aug. 22, which ranked as the second most-watched program, and an encore the following night.

USA, ad-supported cable’s top performer this year, also notched a 2.2 average, according to a Disney ABC Cable analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. That translated into 2.15 million viewers, carved on the strength of its original series, notably the Aug. 24 season finale of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which ranked as the third most-watched show of the week,

Drama proponent TNT was third with a 1.8 rating (1.69 million viewers), lifted by the medium’s top series, The Closer.

ESPN was fourth with a 1.6 average (1.53 million), followed by Fox News Channel at a 1.4 (1.32 million), TBS’s 1.3 (1.27 million) and Nick at Nite’s 1.2 (1.12 million).

Rounding out the top 10 were Lifetime (1.08 million), Cartoon Network (1.07 million) and Hallmark Channel (903,000) all of which averaged a 1.1 average.

Among adults 18 to 49, USA was an easy winner with 1.22 million of those viewers, compared with 927,000 for both ESPN and TBS, while the latter’s sister service TNT had 926,000. A&E was fifth with 674,000 of the group most coveted by advertisers, just ahead of Sci Fi Channel’s 621,000.

From there, the 18-to-49 scorecard showed: Disney (553,000), ABC Family (552,000), Lifetime (546,000), Spike TV (542,000), Comedy Central (531,000) and MTV (518,000).

As referenced earlier, the Aug. 18 installment of The Closer was the week’s top show with 6.45 million viewers. The Cheetah Girls telefilm captured 6.18 million for its Aug. 22 premiere and another 3.68 million the next night. The season finale of Criminal Intent delivered its best number since moving to USA with 5.15 million total viewers, third for the week, including 2.43 million adults 25 to 54.

On the Olympics watch, USA received the gold among NBC Universal's cable properties, pulling 3.45 million viewers in the 10 a.m. hour on Aug. 24, a period when the “characters network” was showing an encore of the U.S. men’s basketball team’s “redemptive” performance in the gold medal game against Spain.