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TNT Takes Top Three

TNT won the trifecta in cable’s second-quarter ratings, nabbing the top three most-viewed programs between March 28 and June 26, and with a mix of shows.

The Turner network’s Pistons/Heat game June 6 earned 9.15 million total viewers; The Closer’s June 13 premiere earned 7.03 million and Into the West’s June 10 premiere earned 6.47 million total viewers.

TNT was the most-viewed cable network in prime for the quarter, with total viewers – an average 2.81 million. USA was next with 2.16 million, and Nick at Night had 1.95 million.

Big ratings gains in the second quarter were recroded by Spike, which jumped from an average 949,000 total viewers in prime in the second quarter of 2004 to 1.57 million in prime second quarter this year, thanks largely to its addition of off-CBS hit CSI.

Headline News, buoyed largely by the success of Nancy Grace, jumped 63% to 322,000 total viewers in prime 2Q 2005 from 198,000 last year.

Lifetime grew 9% to an average 1.63 million total viewers in prime (elsewhere on the women’s network front, Oxygen jumped 8% to an average 198,000 total viewers in prime, and WE grew 13% to an average 176,000).

As for the other news networks, CNN dropped 13% to an average 721,000 total viewers in prime. Fox News jumped 9% from second quarter 2004 to an average 1.53 million total viewers in prime. MSNBC dropped 4% in prime to an average 310,000 total viewers and CNBC was down 25% in prime to 132,000 total viewers.

Several smaller networks saw boosts from increased distribution and/or budding viewer awareness: Nat Geo (up 60% to 247,000 total viewers in prime); Discovery Health (up 44 percent to 247,000 total viewers in prime); Noggin/The N (up 43 percent to 132,000 total viewers in prime, Outdoor Life (up 39 percent to 157,000 total viewers in prime); and the Hallmark Channel (up 18% to an average 791,000 total viewers in prime) among them.

Notable downers included The Learning Channel, down 30% in prime to 680,000 total viewers; ESPN, down 18% in prime to 1.26 million total viewers; Bravo, down 18% in prime to 403,000 total viewers; Discovery, down 15% in prime to 1.02 million total viewers; and MTV – down 12% in prime to 1.08 million total viewers.