ESPN Wins Weekly Cable Ratings Race

ESPN rode its live college football coverage to a big score in the weekly cable primetime ratings race.

The sports network averaged 2.4 million viewers to finish first among all cable networks for the week of Sept. 5 to Sept. 11, according to Nielsen. Fox News, which had won the previous five weekly primetime races, finished second with 2.1 million viewers, followed by a tie between Discovery and HGTV with 1.6 million.

USA Network and TNT tied for fifth place with 1.3 million viewers, followed by History, MSNBC and Disney Channel with 1.2 million watchers each. TBS rounded out the top 10 with 1.1 million viewers.

Fox News outdistanced Nickelodeon for top honors on a 24-hour basis, while ESPN and Adult Swim were the most watched networks among adults 18-49 in primetime and on a total day basis respectively.

Most Watched Shows During The Week of Sept. 5 to Sept. 11

DateShowNetworkTotal Viewers

9/5     College Football Primetime Game (Live)         ESPN                           8.3 million

9/5     College Football Regional Game (Live)           ESPN                           5.7 million

9/5     Rizzoli & Isles                                                  TNT                             5.2 million

9/5     Major Crimes                                                   TNT                             4.1 million

9/7     Commander in Chief Forum                            MSNBC                       3.4 million

9/11   Fear The Walking Dead                                  AMC                            3.4 million

9/5     Harley And The Davidsons                            Discovery                     3.3 million 

9/6     Harley And The Davidsons                            Discovery                     3.3 million

9/5     WWE Monday Night Raw                             USA Network                3.3 million

9/7     Harley And The Davidsons                           Discovery                     3.3 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.