Discovery Takes Bite Out of Weekly Ratings Race

Discovery Channel rode its annual “Shark Week” programming stunt to a first place primetime finish last week among all cable networks.

Discovery’s 2.3 million viewers was boosted by week-long, shark-themed specials which averaged 2.46 million viewers, slightly above the 2.4 million average viewer mark for Shark Week 2014, according to Ratings Intelligence. Shark Week also garnered minor year-to-year gains in primetime among adults 25-54. The network’s 11 p.m. Shark After Dark post-show series drew 1.5 million viewers, during the week, up from 1.4 million last year, said Ratings Intelligence.

Discovery easily topped Disney Channel and Fox News, which tied for second with 1.6 million viewers during the week of July 6 through July 12, according to Nielsen. USA Network, TNT and HGTV tied for fourth with 1.5 million viewers.

TBS and History (tied with 1.2 million viewers), FX (1 million viewers) and Food Network (973,000 viewers) rounded out the top 10 most watched networks for the week.

Disney Channel finished ahead of Discovery on a 24-hour basis, with Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Adult Swim following closely behind.

Discovery was the top choice among adults 18-49 for both prime time and on a 24-hour basis.

Most Watched Shows For The Week of July 6 – July 12
DateShowNetworkTotal Viewers
7/7                              Rizzoli & Isles                                                      TNT                                   4.4 million
7/6                              Major Crimes                                                       TNT                                   4.0 million
7/6                              WWE Monday Night Raw (9-10 p.m.)                  USA                                  3.6 million
7/6                              WWE Monday Night Raw (8-9 p.m.)                    USA                                  3.6 million
7/6                              WWE Monday Night Raw (10-11:15 p.m.)           USA                                  3.6 million
7/8                              Super Predator                                                     Discovery                          3.3 million
7/11                            NASCAR Sprint Cup Race                                   NBCSN                             3.2 million
7/6                              Return Of The Great White                                   Discovery                         3.1 million
7/9                              Mountain Men                                                        History                             3.0 million
7/8                              Ninja Sharks                                                          Discovery                         3.0 million
Source: Nielsen

R. Thomas Umstead

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.