‘Game of Thrones’ Slays in Summer Ratings

HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones is the most watched entertainment-based series on cable so far this summer (through Aug. 7) on a Nielsen live-plus-7-day basis counting average total viewers, per the ratings company.

The sixth season of the fantasy series bested a trio of TNT scripted shows — Major Crimes, Rizzoli & Isles and The Last Ship, according to Nielsen.

For networks, the 2016 presidential campaign was a huge summertime draw for the cable news channels. Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC all ranked among the top 10 most watched networks in live-plus-7-day primetime ratings for the summer among total viewers through Aug. 7, according to Nielsen.

Fox News is poised to finish as the most watched network on cable this summer and the only network to average more than 2 million viewers for the period.

The news networks were the only cable channels among the top 10 that garnered a year-to-year viewership gain. Of the seven remaining channels, five posted double-digit declines, Nielsen reported.

Download a PDF of Cable's Summer Ratings Charts.

Summer’s Top 10 Cable Entertainment Series *

SHOW                                                  NETWORK                              TOTAL VIEWERS

Game of Thrones                                     HBO                                         11.5 million

Major Crimes                                           TNT                                             6.5 million

Rizzoli & Isles                                           TNT                                             6.4 million

The Last Ship                                           TNT                                           3.9 million

Alaskan Bush People                       Discovery Channel                      3.9 million

The Haves and the Have Nots              OWN                                              3.6 million

WWE Monday Night Raw                    USA Network                                3.5 million

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta                         Vh1                                             3.5 million

Suits                                                USA Network                                    3.4 million

Street Outlaws                             Discovery Channel                              3.3 million

Summer’s 10 Most Watched Cable Networks *

NETWORK                                        SUMMER 2016                       SUMMER 2015         % CHANGE

Fox News Channel                          2.4 million                                       1.9 million                     +28%

TNT                                                   1.6 million                                        2.0 million                      -17%

USA                                                  1.6 million                                         1.9 million                     -14%

HGTV                                               1.6 million                                         1.6 million                       -2%

Discovery Channel                        1.4 million                                        1.7 million                        -18%

Disney Channel                           1.3 million                                          1.8 million                          -26%

History                                           1.3 million                                        1.5 million                           -10%

TBS                                                 1.3 million                                      1.4 million                             -5%

CNN                                                1.3 million                                        596,000                            +122%

MSN BC                                          1.2 million                                     627,000                                +91%

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.