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Numbers game puts Nick way out front

The 16 highest-rated, regularly scheduled basic-cable series in 1996 – and 17 of the top 20 – all aired on Nickelodeon, according to Nielsen.

Only shows that had at least 10 telecasts qualify in the Nielsen formula, and live sports events, movies and specials are not part of the measure.

Heading the list was the new Nick animated primetime series “Hey Arnold!” with a 2.3 household rating, followed by the comedy “Kenan & Kel” (2.1), a tie for third at 1.9 between “Rugrats” (which had 655 different telecasts in ’96), “The Secret World of Alex Mack” (1.9), “Aaahhh!!! Real Monsters” (1.9); “Doug,” the variety series “All That” and “My Brother and Me” tied for seventh (1.8), with four shows (“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” “Kablam!” “Tiny Toons Adventures” and “The Adventures of Pete & Pete”) tied at a 1.7.

After that comes “Salute Your Shorts,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “The Ren & Stimpy Show” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” at 1.6, rounding out the top 16. Only wrestling telecasts on TNT and TBS and “Family Matters” reruns on TBS break up a Nickelodeon sweep of the top 20 among regularly scheduled series on cable.

Nick’s “What Would You Do?” gameshow was 20th.

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