Cable Networks Are a Mixed Ratings Bag in Primetime This Season

swings" is perhaps the best way to describe a look at Nielsen's season-to-date
prime numbers for cable networks. A number of the top nets have seen declines
while others are celebrating a real boost, often with understandable

and TNT were certainly at a deficit this season with a shortened NBA schedule.

got a huge bump last season as the Jersey
cast headed off to Italy. However, the show lost a lot of steam this
season, declining week-by-week, causing overall ratings to head south. In
addition, Shore spinoff The Pauly D Project has so far failed to
keep viewers tuned in.

has been seeing slow, steady losses this season as much of its programming base
loses viewership, while other kid-targeted networks are seeing gains.

is down overall as Burn Notice and Law & Order: SVU both saw shrinking
audiences versus last season. In addition, originals Fairly Legal and In Plain
were both moved to Friday nights with lower HUT levels and ratings

the flip side, TBS scored with The Big
Bang Theory
(which included almost 200 airings in primetime alone); FX
scored with American Horror Story and
Sons of Anarchy; A&E scored with Storage Wars (again run in abundance);
and ABC Family loved Pretty Little Liars.
Food Network's Next Food Network Star
has been a hit and the network continues to gobble up viewers. All the while,
Discovery is swimming in the Swamp
and loving it.

let's not forget AMC, which had the biggest finale in cable history with The Walking Dead, while Mad Men saw a bump this season.

Source: NTI, Nielsen Live + SD (9/20/11 thru 4/29/12) vs. (9/19/10 thru 5/1/11)