Cable Networks Set to Build on Ratings Edge

Cable Kicks-Off Semi-Annual Television Critics' Tour with Exciting New Programming

Discovery Features Demonstration of HDTV

Hollywood, CA -
Armed with new ratings data showing cable networks beating broadcast network primetime viewer numbers for all of 2002, established and emerging cable networks participating this week in the semi-annual tour of the Television Critics Association (TCA) unveiled a slate of exciting new programs that promises to continue to build cable viewer numbers.

"Cable networks had a banner year in 2002, surpassing the broadcasters in prime time and total day viewership," said Jill Luckett, Vice President, Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). "Cable's depth of high-quality innovative programming continues to set the standard for all of television - and this is clearly reflected in our audience levels. The programs that cable networks previewed for TV writers this week clearly will encourage continued growth in viewership."

Thirty cable networks presented programs to more than 130 television critics during the three-day cable portion of the "tour" at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. The cable tour attracted numerous celebrities to promote their cable projects, including:
  • Sean Young and Ed Asner for Hallmark Channel's King and Queen of Moonlight Bay;
  • Diane Keaton for Lifetime's Breaking Through (working title);
  • Kelsey Grammer and Aidan Quinn for A&E's Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor;
  • Helen Mirren for Showtime's Tennessee William's The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone;
  • Richard Dreyfuss and Judy Davis for Showtime's Coast to Coast;
  • Mark Hamill for AMC's The Wrong Coast;
  • Diahann Carroll, Valerie Harper, Cindy Williams, Lea Thompson and Kathy Griffin for WE: Women's Entertainment's TV & The Single Girl;
  • Tom Selleck, George Eads and Keith Carradine for TNT's Monte Walsh;
  • Susan Sarandon for Sci Fi Channel's Children of Dune;
  • James Woods and Penelope Ann Miller for USA Network's Rudy!;
  • Jacqueline Bisset and Portia de Rossi for TBS Superstation's America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy, Jr. Story;
  • Jeff Corwin for Animal Planet's Giant Monsters;
  • Angela Cartright for Travel Channel's Movie Lover's Road Trip;
  • Bill Walton for ESPN's Bill Walton's Long Strange Trip;
  • Bill Maher for HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher;
  • Leeza Gibbons and Michael Essany for E! Entertainment's Michael Essany Show;
  • Al Roker for Court TV's Al Roker: Investigating Intolerance;
  • Maureen McCormick for ABC Family's My Life is a Sitcom;
  • Henry Winkler for Game Show Network;
  • Lucy Davis for BBC America's The Office; and
  • Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith for TNT's NBA on TNT .
Non-celebrity projects also were an important part of cable's highlighted programming on the tour; including:
  • CNN's Iraq coverage;
  • Discovery Channel's Thomas L. Friedman Reporting: Searching for the Roots of 9/11;
  • The History Channel's The True Story of Killing Pablo;
  • TLC's What Not To Wear;
  • National Geographic Channel's Surviving Everest; and
  • Discovery Health Channel's Body Challenge 2.
Networks participating for the first time in the cable tour were Fine Living, Tech TV, and Trio. Taken individually, these new networks represent programming for targeted audiences. As a group, they represent the wide variety of personal-interest programming available to cable viewers.

In addition to upcoming programs, TCA members also were updated on the latest in high definition television (HDTV) by Discovery HD Theater. NCTA reported earlier this week that cable systems providing packages of high definition channels now pass one in three U.S. television households.

NCTA will next host the cable portion of the Television Critics' Tour in July 2003, also at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.

NCTA is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the United States. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks, as well as equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the cable industry.