In Cable, TNT Leads After Second Quarter

While Spike, Lifetime Both off 15% in Ratings

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Second quarter has wrapped and with that come the flood of e-mails from cable networks -- each one claiming to have had their best second quarter ever! TNT can claim the 18-to-49 demo crown, with USA Network close behind.
TNT won the 18-to-49 demo crown, even being down 9% from the same period last year.
TNT won the 18-to-49 demo crown, even being down 9% from the same period last year.

Of course there are always winners and losers and second quarter is no different. And the period is always an interesting one as it includes June, the month of many of cable's big summer premieres.

Wrestling on USA
TNT led in adults 18 to 49 with 1.2 million viewers, although that's down 9% from the same period last year. Close behind it was USA Network, with 1.15 million viewers 18 to 49, up 18% over the period a year before, when it didn't have wrestling's WWE broadcast. In third place, TNT sibling TBS remains statistically even at 900,000 viewers.

The data is based on Nielsen Media Research and compares a combination of live-plus-seven day and live-plus-same-day ratings in 2006 to live ratings in 2005, but adding DVR homes into the Nielsen sample hasn't made the material impact in cable it has in broadcast. The terms refer to programming watched either later that same day (live plus same day) or later that week (live plus seven days).

Other gainers
In addition to USA, the biggest gainers in adult 18-to-49 viewing were ESPN, up 25% to 730,000 viewers on the heels of a wildly popular NBA playoffs; Comedy Central, which is up 10% to 621,000; and A&E, up 12% 494,000. One of the biggest turnarounds of the year so far is Discovery Networks' TLC, which after a year and a half of severe drops, is reversing course and growing the demo audience 22% to 440,000. (Older sibling Discovery is up 6% to 649,000 viewers.)

The male-skewing Spike, which unveiled a new branding campaign this spring, and the female-oriented Lifetime are both off 15% in adults 18 to 49, to 701,000 and 558,000 viewers, respectively. SciFi is off 15% in the demo to 466,000 viewers. MTV is off 11% in adults 18 to 34 to 437,000 and Adult Swim, which airs post-prime time, is off 8% in 18-to-34 ratings to 376,000.
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