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Laying down the Law - Broadcasting & Cable

Laying down the Law

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No matter where Law & Order airs on cable, the crime drama is a
potent Nielsen weapon. A&E Network, the show's former cable home, and
Turner Network Television, its new locale, demonstrated that power last week when seven different
Law & Order plays -- three on A&E and four on TNT -- scored
Nielsen Media Research ratings above a 2.6.

Law & Order ended its off-net run on A&E last weekend and moved
exclusively to TNT. Both networks offered up Law & Order marathons last
weekend, buoying their overall ratings for the week of Aug. 26 through Sept. 2. TNT
notched a 1.7 average rating in prime time, while A&E turned in a
stronger-than-usual 1.4. The highest-rated Law & Order belonged to
TNT, a 3.2 rating Sept. 1.

A stellar number for the 2002 Video Music Awards propelled MTV: Music
Television's prime time average to a 1.9 last week. The awards show grabbed an
8.3 rating, while MTV's post-award show turned in a 5.1.

Lifetime Television was still the highest-rated cable network last week with a 2.2 average.

USA Network, which swapped ratings-grabbers Monk, The Dead Zone and
theatricals last week for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, fell to a 1.1 prime time average. USA's
prime time coverage of the tennis tournament is down 23 percent from last year.
The network blamed rain delays, which have claimed 17 percent of 60 live hours,
for some of the erosion. Thursday night's matchup between Pete Sampras and Andy
Roddick, USA's last prime time event, should deliver strong numbers.

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