'CSI' and hurricanes keep auds glued to seats

A five-day “CSI” marathon and the hurricanes that uprooted Florida gave Spike TV and The Weather Channel some of the most eye-popping gains ever recorded in the weekly cable Nielsens.

But while Spike and Weather were harvesting triple-digit bumps in total primetime viewers for the week ended Sept. 1, an unusually high number of cable networks posted double-digit increases. And only one of the top-15 basic-cable networks lost viewers in primetime compared to the same week a year ago (Lifetime, which fell off by 19%).

Feasting on wall-to-wall reruns of “CSI,” Spike soared to the highest-rated week in its history, shooting up by 136% in total viewers. During four out of the five days of its”CSI” marathon, Spike was No. 1 in adults 18 to 49 and in adults 18 to 34.

The Weather Channel’s total-viewer numbers zoomed by 140% from those of the same period in 2003, and the network grew by triple digits across all of the key demographic categories.

NFL Football’s return to ESPN helped to propel the network to second place for the week among total viewers, behind TNT, and first place among adults 18 to 49 and adults 18 to 34. TNT was first in adults 25 to 54.

Third among total viewers was Spike, followed by USA Network, Fox News Channel (up 57% thanks to the heated-up presidential race), Lifetime, Cartoon, Nick at Nite, A&E, TBS, FX, History, Sci Fi, ABC Family and MTV.

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