The Olympic Games didn't do too much damage to cable networks in February,
with the monthly Nielsen ratings looking quite typical compared with recent
Lifetime came out on top in prime time with a 2.1 average rating, according
to a Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
Against major events like the Olympics, networks debate whether to
counterprogram or save their fire.
'We had discussions about not wasting originals, but in the end, we decided
to stay with our regular schedule,' Lifetime Television head of research Tim
USA held second with a 1.7 rating, followed by TBS Superstation, Turner
Network Television and Cartoon Network in a three-way tie with 1.6 average
Those networks also had success against the Salt Lake City Games. USA's
coverage of the Westminster Dog Show produced a 3.2 rating Feb. 11 and a 3.5
rating Feb. 12. TBS' Feb. 10 play of Wild Wild West earned a 6.9 rating,
the second-highest-rated program last month.
CNBC's Olympic hockey coverage helped to boost the network's prime time
average to a 0.6, compared with a 0.4 last February.
Fox News Channel knocked off Cable News Network again in February for both
total-day and prime time ratings. Fox News pulled in a 1.2 average in prime time
and a 0.7 in total day, compared with CNN's 0.8 in prime time and 0.5 for total
Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor was the top-rated cable news show,
averaging a 2.0 rating.
The Fox Report with Shepard Smith moved ahead of CNN's Larry King
Live to be the second-highest-rated news program. The Fox Report
harvested a 1.3 rating compared with Larry King Live's 1.2, but King
attracted slightly more viewers.