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ESPN Secures Top Weekly Ratings Spot

ESPN scored its second straight primetime weekly cable ratings win in a week that included big returns from CNN's Republican Presidential debate.

The 24-hour sports network again rode its NFL Monday Night Football coverage to average 4.3 million subscribers for the week of Sept. 14 to Sept. 20, according to network officials.

ESPN was also the most watched network on a 24-hour basis as well as with adults 18-49

CNN’s Sept. 16 coverage of the second Republican Presidential Debate – which drew a network record 23 million viewers – helped the news network finish second for the week with 3.7 million viewers, while Fox News ended up a distant third with 1.6 million viewers.

Disney Channel placed fourth with 1.5 million, followed by USA Network and TBS, which both averaged 1.4 million watchers to tie for fifth.

HGTV (1.2 million); History (1.1 million); and FX and AMC rounded out the top 10 most watched shows for the week.  

Most Watched Cable Shows For Week Of Sept. 14-20

DateShow   Network Total Viewers

9/16   Reagan GOP Presidential Debate                CNN                            23 million

9/14   MNF –Minnesota-San Francisco                  ESPN                           14.3 million

9/14   MNF – Philadelphia-Atlanta                         ESPN                           13.5 million

9/16   Anderson Cooper 360 Debate Special        CNN                            10.8 million

9/19   College Football Ole Miss-Alaba                 ESPN                              7.6 million

9/20   Fear The Walking Dead                                AMC                               6.6 million

9/16   Reagan GOP Presidential Early Debate      CNN                               6.2 million

9/16   Regan GOP Early Debate Special                 CNN                               4.5 million

9/16   AC360 Post Debate Special                          CNN                                4.4 million

9/17   Thursday Night football (Den.-KC.)                ESPN                              4.1million

Source: 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.