A double dose of preseason football propelled ESPN back to the upper echelon
of cable Nielsen Media Research ratings last week. The sports network notched a 1.8 prime time
rating for the week of Aug. 12 through 18, according to Nielsen data. An Aug. 12 National Football League matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
grabbed a 4.7 rating, and an Aug. 15 game with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee
Titans notched a 3.3.
ESPN, USA Network, Turner Network Television and Nickelodeon finished the week tied for second
place with 1.8 ratings behind top-rated Lifetime Television, which earned a 2.0 average.
USA was buoyed yet again last week by strong ratings for its original dramas.
Monk scored a 3.4 rating Aug. 16, and The Dead Zone chimed in with a
3.0 Aug. 18.
TNT's coverage of the Pepsi 400 Winston Cup National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing event Aug. 18 landed a
5.3 rating, making it last week's highest-rated show.
One of cable's most-talked-about shows, Anna Nicole Smith's reality show on
E! Entertainment Television, shed some more of its audience in week three. The Anna Nicole Show
earned a 2.4 rating Aug. 18, down from a 3.0 the week before. The show
debuted to an impressive 4.1 rating Aug. 4. Younger viewers are still tuning in,
though. Smith attracted a 2.6 rating for adults 18 through 34.