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TNT Tops Cable's Weekly Primetime Ratings Chart

TNT – led by its National Basketball Association post-season coverage – dunked its cable network competition in finishing as the most watched network in primetime last week.

 TNT averaged 2.9 million viewers to finish first among all cable networks during the week of April 17 to April 23, according to Nielsen. TNT was also the top choice among adults 18-49 in both primetime and on a 24-hour basis.

TNT’s primetime win knocked Fox News out of the top spot and into second place for the first time in the past three weeks, said Nielsen. Fox’s 2.2 million average viewers for the week came amid the dismissal of Bill O'Reilly from the network’s top rated series The O’Reilly Factor over sexual harassment allegations.

MSNBC and HGTV finished tied for third during the week with 1.4 million viewers, followed by TBS, ESPN and USA Network – all tied with 1.2 million viewers.

Discovery Channel (1.1 million viewers), History (1.0 million viewers) and Investigative Discovery (973,000) rounded out the top 10 most watched networks for the week.

Fox News posted the highest average viewership on a 24-hour basis for the 16th straight week, followed by TNT, Nickelodeon, HGTV and Adult Swim, according to Nielsen.

Most Watched Shows For The Week Of April 17-23

DateShowNetwork Total Viewers

4/22   NBA Playoffs-Golden State/Portland                        ESPN               4.3 million

4/23   NBA Playoffs—Boston/Chicago                               TNT                 4.2 million

4/23   NBA Playoffs—LA Clippers/Utah                             TNT                 3.9 million

4/19   NBA Playoffs—Portland/Golden State                     TNT                 3.9 million

4/19   NBA Playoffs—Okl City/Houston                            TNT                 3.7 million

4/17   NBA Playoffs—Indiana/Cleveland                          TNT                 3.5 million

4/20   NBA Playoffs—San Antonio/Memphis                    TNT                 3.4 million

4/17   WWE Monday Night Raw                                     USA                 3.4 million

4/21   NBA Playoffs – Houston/OKL City                        ESPN               3.4 million

4/17   WWE Monday Night Raw                                    USA                 3.4 million

Source: Nielsen

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.