Nick shows kids knack with its new timed Zone

'Arnold' beats Disney's 'Ducks'

NEW YORK — Nickelodeon is off to a strong start in the first three days of its experiment to fill the 8-to-9-p.m. slot every weeknight with children’s programming. It’s already blasting away the competition with the 6.2 three-day national Nielsen rating among kids 2 to 11, which reps a 75% increase over that of the same period a year ago.

On Oct. 7, 1996, Nickelodeon engineered its first foray into primetime, replacing the old sitcoms on Nick at Nite with new series aimed at kids from 8 to 8:30.

That strategy succeeded in pulling masses of kids 2 to 11 away from the broadcast networks, emboldening Nick to expand its kids programming by a half-hour on Aug. 31, under the umbrella title Nickel-O-Zone.

Nickel-O-Zone is harvesting double the kids-2-to-11 ratings of the second-place series in each of the time periods for the first three days.

On Monday at 8, “Hey Arnold” averaged a 6.2 rating and 23 share, which translates into 2.5 million kids 2 to 11, beating the No. 2 “Mighty Ducks” movie on Disney Channel, which got a 2.4/9, good for 961,000 kids 2 to 11.

At 8:30 that night, Nick’s “Journey of Allen Strange” averaged a 4.7/17, or 1,836,000 kids 2 to 11, while “Mighty Ducks” got 963,000 kids.

The best individual performer among the Nick programs was the second episode of “Hey Arnold” on Wednesday at 8, which chalked up a 7.0/29, or 2,768,000 kids 2 to 11.

On Tuesday, “Wild Thornberrys” averaged a 5.4/24 among kids 2 to 11 at 8 p.m., with ABC’s “Home Improvement” rerun getting a 2.2/10, or 853,000 kids 2 to 11. At 8:30, “Cousin Skeeter” finished with a 4.7/20, or 1.87 million kids 2 to 11, beating Fox’s “King of the Hill” rerun (2.5/11, 981,000 kids 2 to 11).

Nickelodeon is hoping to establish a viewer habit by premiering its Nickel-O-Zone now, three weeks before the broadcast nets weigh in with their new seasons, which could lure some of the kids away from Nickelodeon.

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