Skip to main content

Pro Football Trumps Presidential Debate Coverage On Cable

ESPN’s NFL Football and Major League Baseball Wild Card game coverage was enough to hold off Fox News’ coverage of the second Presidential Debate to finish as the most watched cable network in primetime last week, according to Nielsen.

ESPN averaged 3.9 million viewers during the week of Oct. 3 to Oct. 9 to best Fox News’ 3.5 million viewers to finish first among all cable networks, said Nielsen. ESPN was bolstered by its Oct. 3 Minnesota Vikings/N.Y. Giants Monday Night Football telecast, which was the most watched show of the week with 13.1 million viewers.

CNN, which drew a cable-high 11.3 million viewers for live coverage of the Oct. 9 Presidential Debate, finished third with 2.7 million viewers, followed by TBS with 2.2 million viewers and MSNBC with 2.0 million watchers.

USA Network (1.4 million viewers), HGTV and Disney Channel (tied with 1.2 million), The Weather Channel (1 million) and History (987,000) rounded out the top 10 most watched cable networks for the week.

Fox News was the most watched cable network of the week,  while ESPN was the top choice among adult 18-49 viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen.

Most Watched Cable Shows During Week Of Oct. 3-Oct. 9

Date    Show                                                           Network                     Total Viewers

10/3   NFL Monday Night Football                         ESPN                           13.1 million

10/9   2nd Presidential Debate                               CNN                             11.3 million

10/9   2nd Presidential Debate                               Fox News                      9.9 million

10/9   Presidential Debate Analysis                       Fox News                      8.5 million

10/5   MLB Wild Card: NY Mets/SF Giants            ESPN                            7.4 million

10/9   Debate Night In America                              CNN                              7.0 million

10/4   Vice Presidential Debate                              Fox News                      6.1 million

10/7   MLB NL Division Series                               Fox Sports 1                  5.6 million

10/9   2nd Presidential Debate                               MSNBC                          5.5 million

10/9   Vice Presidential Debate Analysis               Fox News                      5.2 million

Source: Nielsen