ESPN Tops Weekly Primetime Ratings

ESPN rode the return of its Monday Night Football franchise to a first-place finish on the weekly primetime cable ratings charts.

Related: Engineering a Monday Night Comeback: Q&A With ESPN’s Burke Magnus

ESPN averaged 2.8 million viewers during the week of Sept. 11 to Sept. 17 to best all cable networks, according to Nielsen. Fox News Channel was second with 2.1 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 1.6 million watchers and USA Network’s 1.4 million viewers. 

HGTV (1.3 million viewers), NFL Network (1.2 million), TBS (1.1 million) and History, CNN and Investigation Discovery (1 million) comprised the rest of the top 10 most watched cable networks of the week. 

Fox News Channel regained the top weekly ratings spot on a 24-hour basis after relinquishing it to The Weather Channel last week, with Nickelodeon, ESPN, MSNBC and Adult Swim following close behind.

Adult Swim was the most watched network among adults 18-49 on a 24-hour basis, while ESPN scored best with the demo in primetime during the week.

Most Watched Cable Shows For The Week of Sept. 11 to Sept. 17

Date ShowNetworkTotal Viewers

9/11   MNF – New Orleans-Minnesota                            ESPN                           11.4 million

9/11   MNF – LA Chargers-Denver                                 ESPN                           9.9 million

9/14   TNF – Houston-Cincinnati                                   NFL Network                 8.0 million

9/14   NFL Total Access                                               NFL Network                 3.3 million

9/14   NFL Pre-Kick                                                     NFL Network                 3.0 million

9/11   WWE Monday Night Raw (8-9 pm)                      USA Network                3.0 million

9/11   WWE Monday Night Raw (9-10 pm)                    USA Network                2.9 million

9/14   Rachel Maddow Show                                        MSNBC                        2.9 million

9/12   Tucker Carlson Tonight                                      Fox News                    2.9 million

9/13   Rachel Maddow Show                                        MSNBC                       2.7 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.