ESPN surges in cable primetime


ESPN is riding a late-season ratings high after scoring the year's
second-highest cable rating and tying Turner Network Television for the top spot
in last week's Nielsen Media Research cable ratings.

Both ESPN and TNT notched 1.8 ratings in primetime, according to a Turner
Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen data.

ESPN's telecast of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh
Steelers and Baltimore Ravens Dec. 16 earned a 9.1 rating. TNT's original movie,
Crossfire Trail, was cable's best in 2001 with a 9.6 rating in

USA Network, Lifetime Television and Fox News Channel tied for second with
1.7 ratings. FNC bested news rival Cable News Network by three-tenths of a
rating point.

FNC's strong performance was driven by The O'Reilly Factor, which
rated among cable's top 50 shows three times last week.

ABC Family cracked the top 10 again last week, tying TBS Superstation and
Cartoon Network with a 1.5 rating.