ESPN Easily Tops Cable’s Weekly Ratings

Blockbuster ratings for ESPN’s coverage of the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoffs championship game helped the network score an easy primetime weekly cable ratings win.

The sports network averaged 4 million viewers for the week of Jan. 9 to Jan. 15, easily outdistancing second place Fox News’ 2.5 million tally, according to Nielsen. ESPN drew 24.4 million viewers for Jan. 9 telecast of the Clemson Tigers’ last minute victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide to pace its weekly victory.  

HGTV finished third for the week with 1.6 million viewers, followed by USA’a 1.5 million watchers.

Tying for fourth place with 1.3 million viewers for the week were TBS, Discovery Channel, CNN and MSNBC, while FX (1.2 million viewers) and Investigation Discovery and History (tied with 1.1 million) rounded out the top 10.

Fox News topped ESPN on a 24-hour basis, followed in order by Nickelodeon, HGTV, Disney Channel and Adult Swim.

ESPN was the top choice among adults 18-49 in primetime and on a 24-hour basis, according to Nielsen.

The Most Watched Cable Shows For The Week of Jan. 9 to Jan. 15

DateShowNetwork                              Total Viewers

1/9         CFP Championship (Clemson-Alabama)            ESPN                                     24.4 million

1/9         CFP pre-game show                                         ESPN                                    14.4 million

1/9         CFP post-game show                                       ESPN                                      9.4 million

1/9         CFP Studio Show                                             ESPN                                      5.3 million

1/11       The O’Reilly Factor                                           Fox News                                 4.3 million

1/12       The O’Reilly Factor                                           Fox News                                 4.1 million

1/10       Anderson Cooper 360                                        CNN                                         3.7 million

1/10       Fixer Upper                                                       HGTV                                       3.7 million

1/13       Gold Rush                                                        Discovery Channel                      3.6 million

1/10       Anderson Cooper 360                                         CNN                                         3.6 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.