‘Rugrats’ lifts Nick to new ratings heights

Spec gives cabler rare primetime victory

Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” solidified its hold as the highest-rated programming franchise in cable history by scoring a huge 7.2 rating in cable homes for “All Growed Up,” a one-hour primetime special July 21.

That number wound up delivering more households to Nickelodeon than any other program in its history, giving the network a rare first-place victory in primetime among all basic-cable networks for the full week ended July 22.

Nickelodeon averaged a 2.3 rating for the week, edging Lifetime with a 2.2. Closely bunched between third and sixth place in primetime were USA (a 1.9 rating), TNT (1.8), Cartoon (1.7) and TBS (1.6).

Lifetime had the highest-rated primetime movie of the week, “Dangerous Child,” with Delta Burke, chalking up a 5.2 rating in cable homes July 16.

Weaker in adults

While Nickelodeon won the primetime race among households, it ended up in only fifth place among adults 18-49 and sixth place among adults 25-54. USA finished first in the adults 18-49 category and TNT was first in adults 25-54, both in primetime.

But “All Growed Up” was the big story of the week. Nickelodeon said the special’s 70 share among kids 2-11 represented the highest share ever recorded for a cable TV program. And the special came in as the second highest-rated program of the year in all of cable, beaten only by TNT’s “Crossfire Trail,” with Tom Selleck, on Jan. 21.

Viewing parties

Nickelodeon president Herb Scannell said, “Surprising numbers of kids held ‘Rugrats’ parties on Saturday night and watched the show in groups.”

“All Growed Up,” which projected the “Rugrats” characters 10 years into the future, will serve as a pilot for either a regular spinoff series or a series of occasional one-hour specials, Scannell said.

Nickelodeon will eventually get the two “Rugrats” theatrical movies, which Paramount has sold in a shared five-year window, with CBS getting the first two runs over a couple of years, followed by multiple runs exclusively on Nickelodeon.