Top rates for ‘Shawshank’

The broadcast network premiere Sunday night of the Oscar-nominated 1994 prison drama “The Shawshank Redemption” came in as the most-watched theatrical movie ever to air on TNT and the highest-rated bigscreen effort to show on basic cable in 1997.

Film delivered a 4.9 rating and 8 share from Nielsen in its first of two airings (8 p.m. and 11 p.m.) on Sunday, and was viewed by an average of 5.56 million viewers.

“Shawshank,” which stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, outperformed three Stanley Cup Finals hockey playoff games to stand as the week’s highest-rated program on basic cable in both household delivery and in the key 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

The performance bodes well for TNT’s next high-profile theatrical premiere: the Sept. 14, first-broadcast-window debut of the $100 million Jim Carrey-Jeff Daniels comedy “Dumb & Dumber.” Turner officials are hopeful the film will become the first feature to generate a double-digit rating on basic cable.

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