Fox Family debuts well

Channel bests predecessor in most dayparts, demos

NEW YORK — Fox Family Channel, which launched Saturday at noon, got off to a good ratings start in its first weekend, besting its predecessor — the Family Channel — in most dayparts and demographics.

On Saturday, Fox Family earned a 0.9 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, equaling the household rating the Family Channel had been averaging in the third quarter. Compared with the same day a year earlier, Fox Family more than doubled the Family Channel’s 0.4 rating.

Higher than usual

On Saturday evening, which Fox Family defines as 6 p.m.-1 a.m., the network averaged a 1.7 rating, 55% higher than Family had been doing in the third quarter.

“We were very nervous going into the weekend,” said Rich Cronin, president of Fox Family. “Since we announced our launch date a year ago, our competitors had plenty of time to line up programming against us. Despite the heavy competition and the Clinton news factor, we had a great opening weekend.”

Fox Family is shooting for kids and young adults, and it beat the Family Channel — which skewed considerable older — in all the young demos.

On Saturday, Fox Family averaged a 0.3 among kids aged 2-11, which was triple what the Family Channel had been averaging in the third quarter.

Sunday strength

On Sunday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fox Family scored a 0.6 kids 2-11 rating, six times higher than the web’s former run.

In the 18-49 category on Sunday, the channel hit a 0.7. That was a 75% increase over the 0.4 Fox Family had been averaging.

For the total day Sunday, the net grabbed a 1.1 household rating, good for a tie with the Family Channel.

Leading the way for Fox Family’s performance was the theatrical film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which snared a 3.4 household rating on Saturday from 8 p.m.-10:30 p.m.

A Spice Girls concert earned a 1.8 household rating on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cronin was particularly surprised by the special’s performance because MTV ran a four-hour Spice Girls stunt on Saturday and repeated it on Sunday, and a Spice Girls concert was also available on pay-per-view that weekend.

Fox Family is a joint venture between Saban Entertainment and News Corp. This partnership purchased the channel last year. The Family Channel was previously part of a public company controlled by evangelist Pat Robertson.