‘Poke’ powers WB

Saturday ayem block ends Nick win streak

With “Pokemon” leading the way, Kids’ WB won the Saturday morning Nielsens race for the fourth quarter of 1999, marking the first time in 10 quarters any broadcast network has topped cable’s Nickelodeon for the Saturday ayem lead.

Interest in “Pokemon,” in fact, has increased overall kid viewing on Saturday mornings, marking just the second time in five years that fourth-quarter children’s viewing has increased vs. the previous year.

“Pokemon” scored the quarter’s highest and third-highest kids ratings (7.2 rating, 26 share among kids 2-11 at 10 a.m. and 5.1/24 at 8:30 a.m.) to lift the entire Kids’ WB sked to an average 4.2/18 for the quarter (up 133% vs. last year). Nickelodeon (4.0/17, down 5%) was a close second, led by “Rugrats” (5.2/20), the quarter’s No. 2-rated series.

Streak over

Nickelodeon had beaten all Saturday a.m. broadcast competition for the last 10 consecutive quarters, dating back to the second quarter of 1997.

Other fourth-quarter Saturday a.m. averages were: ABC, 2.7/13 (down 10%); Fox, 2.7/12 (down 13%); UPN, 1.8/9 (up 6%); Disney Channel, 1.6/7 (down 11%); Cartoon Network, 1.5/7 (up 7%); Fox Family Channel, 0.8/4 (up 60%); CBS, 0.7/3 (even).

With “Pokemon” drawing kids to the set, the quarter’s rate of persons 2-11 watching TV on Saturday mornings increased 6% to 22.7% vs. 21.4% for the fourth quarter of 1998. Kid viewing has been declining through most of the decade, having sagged from 25.1% in the fourth quarter of 1994 to last year’s 21.4%, only managing a year-to-year fourth-quarter increase once during that stretch, a 1% blip in 1997.

“Pokemon’s” strong male appeal brought a 9% increase in the rate of boys 2-11 watching Saturday morning TV last quarter (24.0% vs. 22.1%).

“Pokemon” also scored the quarter’s two top weekday kids ratings (4.4/23 at 4 p.m., 3.7/29 at 7 a.m.), keeping Kids’ WB first among children for its block of weekday fare.

Each kids 2-11 rating point reps 398,100 viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. The share is also a percentage, but measured against only viewers watching TV during the slot involved.