CABLEWORLD STAFF National Geographic Channel led cable programmers at the CTAM Summit in Seattle last week, winning five Gold Mark Awards recognizing excellence in consumer and industry marketing. NGC was followed by MTV Networks and Showtime Networks, which won four each. MTV also won the first-ever Top of the Mark award for its Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself campaign. The National Cable TV Cooperative named the Outdoor Channel its programmer of the year for its “impressive service” to the independent cable operators belonging to the organization. Andy Dale, president and CEO of the network, will be presented with the award at NCTC’s annual meeting this week in Portland, Ore. In another nod, parent company Global Outdoor is rebranding itself as Outdoor Channel Holdings. Outdoor Life Network’s expanded coverage of the Tour de France has paid off. An average of 1.104 million viewers tuned in during OLN’s five daily telecasts of its first 19 days of live coverage, an increase of 145% over the same period of last year’s race. Its live coverage was seen in an average of 308,000 homes, 112% over 2002, and an average of 434,000 homes in prime time, 136% higher than last year’s performance. OLN grossed an all-time high 2.1 rating during its July 23 telecast. OLN is also ramping up a new original series, Bragging Rights, for November. According to a press release, it features “two tough guys with a ‘grudge’ of some sort who have agreed to ‘settle the score’ in the great outdoors.” FX’s debut of Nip/Tuck last Tuesday night attracted 3.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable program of the night and the highest-rated new cable series premiere of the year. Comedy Central also premiered its new series Reno 911! last week, nabbing 2.15 million viewers, making it the highest-rated (1.94) prime-time program on basic cable for the night. Reno was watched by 31% more viewers than the previous week’s debut of Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which drew 1.64 million viewers. Queer Eye held up with 1.6 million viewers last week, a 4% drop from its premiere but a 7% boost in viewers 25 to 54. Last week’s premiere of A&E’s MI-5 also drew 1.8 million total viewers, 45% higher than the network’s prime-time average.

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