NEW YORK — Americans may be regressing into their second childhood: The Cartoon Network scored its best numbers ever last week, tying for first place in primetime among all cable networks with an eye-opening 2.1 rating in cable homes.
Even more surprising, the toon web rose to its record pinnacle despite the fact that no individual program on the network did well enough to make it into the top 10 for the week.
TBS, which also chalked up a weeklong 2.1 primetime rating for the first-place tie, delivered two top-10 programs, the Aug. 20 remake of “High Noon” and the umpteenth rerun of “The Shawshank Redemption” on Aug. 19. The “High Noon” premiere racked up a 3.9 rating in cable homes to become the highest-rated movie of the week on cable and the fourth highest-rated program overall.
The three highest-rated cable shows of the week were the two separate hours of the World Wrestling Federation’s “Raw Is War” on USA Aug. 14, which hit a 6.5 rating in cable homes at 10 and a 5.2 rating at 9, and an ESPN NASCAR special that ran for more than three hours on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, harvesting a 4.1 rating in cable homes.
The Cartoon Network’s best Nielsen performer of the week was the four primetime half-hour episodes of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” the original series that runs Monday through Thursday at 9. The four half-hours averaged a 2.6 rating in cable homes.
Also noteworthy: Lifetime came up big with a 2.9 rating on Aug. 17 for one of the rare theatrical movies that it has bought in its first network window, Columbia’s “Fools Rush In,” starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek. Pic’s ratings helped Lifetime finish fourth for the week among all cable networks with a 1.8 rating, behind TBS, Cartoon and USA.