Monk, Raw Help USA Wrestle to the Top

Wrestling and Monk helped USA earn the most viewers of any cable network in prime during January, according to Nielsen Media Research measuring programs between Dec. 26 and Jan. 29.

USA averaged 2.76 million viewers during prime, up 15% from the same period last year. It was followed by non-ad-supported Disney with 2.55 million, TNT with 2.34 million (down 10% from last year) and ESPN at 2.12 million (up 8% from last year).

USA posted three episodes of Monk and seven installments of WWE Raw programming in the top 20 most-viewed cable programs for the month. Monk, in the midseason run of its fourth cycle, earned 6 million total viewers for its Jan. 20 episode at 10 p.m., the most of any scripted series on cable for the month. The most-viewed programs overall were ESPN’s Rams/Cowboys game at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 1—9.06 million total viewers, ESPN’s Giants/Raiders game Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.—8.44 million, and Disney’s original movie High School Musical Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.—7.73 million.

During prime for the month, both Fox News and CNN saw drops in total viewers from the same period last year and double-digit drops in news’ target demo, viewers 25-54.

Meanwhile, MSNBC, CNBC and Headline News all saw double-digit gains in both categories. Fox News and CNN had both seen bumps last year due to coverage of the tsunami.

In the demo, Fox News averaged 319,000 viewers during prime, down 34% from last year; CNN averaged 202,000, down 26% from last year; MSNBC averaged 150,000, up 26% from last year, Headline News averaged 114,000, up 12% from last year, and CNBC averaged 76,000, up 19% from last year.

In total viewers, Fox News averaged 1.48 million during prime, down 7% from last year; CNN averaged 724,000, down 17% from last year; MSNBC averaged 349,000, up 16% from last year; Headline News averaged 343,000, up 43% from last year; and CNBC averaged 155,000, up 23% from last year.

For the week of Jan. 23 through Jan. 29, USA earned the most viewers during prime with 2.12 million, followed by Disney with 1.99 million and TNT with 1.79 million. USA took the top three programming slots with WWE Raw programming Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. and 9 p.m.—5.65 and 5.61 million total viewers—and an episode of Monk Jan. 27 at 10 p.m.—5.35 million total viewers.