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3 Stand up to ‘Mil’

TBS, ESPN, Nick net numbers despite phenom competish

“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and other broadcast distractions made November a tough month for some ad-supported cable nets, but the competition couldn’t slow TBS, ESPN or Nickelodeon.

Boosted by the cable debut of “Wizard of Oz” and a powerful “Pretty Woman” rerun, both of which aired vs. “Millionaire,” TBS earned the month’s highest total-day 18-49 viewer count, 672,000 (up a hefty 23% vs. last November).

ESPN’s Sunday-night NFL football also held up well vs. “Millionaire,” keeping the Disney-owned sports service first in primetime among adults 18-49 (1.37 million, up 4%) and households (1.93 million, up 4%).

Nick paces pack

Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite paced the pack in total-day households (1.20 million, up 5%), boosted by the Saturday-night premieres of “Amanda” and “100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd.”

With the broadcast nets enjoying a solid November, a number of cable services, particularly news services and country-music channels, suffered falloffs vs. November 1998.

In total-day households, the biggest percentage losses among basic cable’s top 35 came at CNN (down 35% vs. last year’s Monica-boosted results to 275,000 homes), Nashville Network (down 18% to 290,000), Country Music Television (down 17% to 109,000), MSNBC (down 11% to 121,000) and USA (down 10% to 686,000).

Court TV up

Biggest percentage gains among the top 25 were logged by Court TV (up 170% with 100,000 homes), the History Channel (up 48% to 340,000), E! (up 42% to 189,000), Comedy Central (up 37% to 266,000), TV Land (up 31% to 202,000), FX (up 28% to 253,000) and TBS (up 20% to 991,000).

Court TV’s landmark gains were fueled by the primetime off-net series “Cops,” which is doing eight times year-earlier Court TV results (0.8 vs. 0.1), and “Homicide.”

Top total-day homes counts came at Nick, TBS, Lifetime (746,000, up 13%), Cartoon Network (621,000, up 13%) and TNT (711,00, down 4%).

All of basic cable combined for a modest 5% November increase in primetime (with a 25.0 homes rating vs. last year’s 23.9), while “Millionaire” helped the seven broadcast nets to a rare year-to-year increase of 2% (36.6 vs. 35.9).

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