Adult Swim makes splash

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Adult Swim, which recently generated headlines over a promotional stunt involving its series "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," broke basic cable viewership records this month in several demos.

Cartoon Network's late-night sister channel set basic cable monthly records in total-day delivery in adults 18-34 (460,000, up 28% compared with February 2006), adults 18-24 (280,000, up 32%), males 18-34 (283,000, up 25%) and males 18-24 (169,000, up 20%). The network also extended its streak as the No. 1 channel among males 18-24 to 23 consecutive months and ranked third among basic cable networks for total-day delivery in adults 18-49.

An Adult Swim spokesperson attributed the boost to marathons of acquired series "Family Guy" and "Futurama." "Aqua Teen" saw only a slight increase after the promotional stunt and therefore wasn't likely a factor in this month's ratings jump.

It's also likely that Adult Swim got a boost from the fact that Nielsen Media Research is now including college students who live away from home in its ratings information. However, the network does not yet have breakdowns on the impact of that data.

Last month, a guerrilla marketing campaign for "Aqua Teen" done by Adult Swim and Interference Inc. led to a daylong terrorism scare in Boston after blinking boxes featuring a character from the show that had been placed around the city and elsewhere nationwide were mistaken for bombs. As a result, parent company Turner Broadcasting System had to pay Boston-area authorities $2 million to settle claims, and Cartoon Network general manager Jim Samples resigned.
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