Cable ratings continue to grow

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Basic cable continued to build share and the Big 4 broadcast networks lost share in week 46 of the prime-time ratings season, but the big loser was Paramount Communications' fledgling UPN TV network. For the first time since its January launch, UPN fell behind Warner Bros.' WB Network in Nielsen's prime-time ratings. WB averaged a 2.3 rating for the week ended Aug. 6, while UPN averaged only a 2.1 rating. Season-to-date, WB has averaged only a 1.8 rating compared to UPN's 3.4. The Big 4's gross rating dropped below 30%, averaging a 29.6 Nielsen rating for the week, down 7.6% from the 32 rating they averaged the same week last season. Basic cable, meanwhile, rose 19.3% to a 17.7 rating and a 34% share of the prime-time audience.

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