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TNN Says CSI Bet Is Paying Off

After a slow start, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
is starting to dig up plenty of late-night viewers for TNN: The National Network.

Seven weeks into its run, CSI
has averaged a 1.6 household rating in its time slot, 11:05 p.m. on Monday nights, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

More importantly, the one-hour show — which TNN acquired in a "shared-network window" deal with fellow Viacom Inc. company King World Productions for $1.6 million per episode — has scored well with the pop-culture network's broad target audience of adults 18 to 49 and its "sweet spot" of adults 25 to 34.

"It's taken some time, but more viewers know they can see CSI
on TNN on Monday nights," said general manager Diane Robina. "We're beginning to see bigger numbers and a lot more of the younger viewers we have been targeting."

CSI, which debuted Sept. 16, averaged a 1.4 household rating for its first four weeks, a somewhat disappointing performance given the cost and its lead-in, World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE Raw. CBS's forensics sleuther is the No. 1 broadcast show in terms of household ratings, and ranks third with the Madison Avenue-coveted 18-to-49 set.

In its most recent cable airings, Robina said CSI
garnered a 2.0 household rating on Oct. 21 and a 1.8 on Oct. 28.

"We were concerned about [Oct. 28] because of the [Philadelphia] Eagles and [New York] Giants on Monday Night Football," said Robina. "CSI
performs very well among the top 15 DMAs."

Season-to-date, she added, CSI
has retained 53 percent of WWE households. Despite erosion, Raw
remains basic cable's highest-rated series.

On the demo side, CSI
scored a 1.3 among adults 18 to 49 during each of the last two weeks, helping the show find a 38 percent gain with that demo over the time slot's previous occupant, Star Trek: Next Generation.

Results have also been encouraging among its micro-target: CSI has averaged a 1.3 rating among adults 25 to 34.

Network officials also said more women 18 to 24 are starting to discover the show on cable, either sticking around after wrestling or tuning in after grappling ends.

Under its contract, over the next two years, TNN can air CSI
once a week outside of primetime. While the show is currently following WWE programming, Robina said it could be shifted.

"As CSI becomes more closely associated with TNN, we might move it around to help other parts of the schedule," said Robina. "It might be used to help build our animation block."

TNN will launch an adult-targeted animation block — featuring Gary The Rat
(from Frasier's Kelsey Grammer), Stripperella
(featuring Pamela Anderson), The Immigrants
and library installments of The Ren & Stimpy Show
— during second-quarter 2003.