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Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Holds Off ESPN For Primetime Win

(Image credit: Fox News )

ESPN’s post-season NBA and baseball coverage wasn’t enough to upend Fox News at the top of the weekly cable ratings charts, according to Nielsen.

Fox News averaged 5.3 million viewers during the week of Sept. 28-Oct.4  -- mostly on the strength of breaking news from the first Presidential Debate on Sept. 29 and the news surrounding President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis -- to top all cable networks, said Nielsen. ESPN drew 4 million viewers to finish second, followed by CNN and MSNBC, both tied at 2.8 million watchers.

HGTV was fifth with 1.1 million viewers, followed by TLC (1 million), Hallmark Channel (949,000), NFL Network (833,000), Food Network (802,000) and USA Network (769,000).

Fox News also averaged 2.3 million viewers on a 24-hour basis to top all cable networks for the 39th consecutive week. CNN, MSNBC, ESPN and HGTV also performed well on the total day charts, said Nielsen. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.