'Aqua Teen' publicity no help


NEW YORK  -- So much for the notion that any publicity -- even bad publicity -- is helpful: Ratings hardly went up for the Cartoon Network show with the ad campaign that briefly paralyzed Boston.

Blinking electronic devices planted around Boston to promote "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" caused authorities, who were worried they might be bombs, to shut down bridges and highways on Jan. 31.

The cartoon averaged 386,000 viewers last week among its targeted demographic of 18-to-24-year-olds, according to Nielsen Media Research. The previous week, the show averaged a virtually identical 380,000 among young viewers.

The devices were removed from Boston and nine other cities where they had been planted after the incident.

The Cartoon Network's corporate parent, Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting Systems, and an advertising agency agreed to pay $2 million in compensation.