Other side of the table: Jeff Lucas, president of ad sales for all NBC Universal cable-entertainment properties
Performance in 18-49s: Aggregate season-to-date prime-time ratings for the three networks are 2.7, up 4% from last year*
Performance in total viewers: Aggregate prime-time viewers are up to 3.9 million, 3% more than last year.*
Best returning shows: This summer USA is bringing back "4400," basic cable's highest-rated series ever, along with "Monk," which was up 17% in the ratings during its third season. SciFi will air another season of "Battlestar Galactica," which averaged 2.9 million viewers during first quarter and Bravo's infamous "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" will also return.
Best new shows: USA's "Kojak" has been scoring solid 2+ ratings since its premiere and the network will sell newly acquired WWE "Raw." On the other networks, SciFi's "Ghosthunters" reality show has boosted Wednesday night 18-49 ratings by 80% and Bravo will bring on the unscripted "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List."
Weakest areas: Last year USA, SciFi and Bravo cooperated with their broadcast sibling. This year, the cable nets are reportedly separating themselves from the struggling NBC, likely to keep it from diminishing their overall take.
Most successful product placement/sponsorship deal: Bravo's "Project Runway," which was the network's youngest series with a median age of 34.4, integrated such major marketers as Cotton Inc., Banana Republic, L'Oreal and Drexel Heritage furniture. Banana Republic and Cotton Inc. were both integrated into story lines, creating buzz among both women in their 20s and 30s and the fashion design community.
Audience median age: All three networks range from 44 to 46.
Last year's CPM increase: 5%-9%
Last year's upfront haul: Up 20%
The buyer's verdict: "I will be interested to see the strategy behind purchasing wrestling," said Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, director-broadcast investment at Publicis Groupe's Starcom USA, Chicago.
*Nielsen Media Research: Season-to-date is Sept. 20-April 7