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TV Show and Network Rankings: August 2020

Kawhi Leonard, #2 of the LA Clippers, dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on Sept. 3, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
(Image credit: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

This is a quick snapshot of TV by the numbers for the month of August, revealing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Inscape, plus a look at what viewers were binge-watching. Also below: the top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with insights via iSpot.tv. You can see July’s rankings here.

Most-Watched Shows and Networks 

Via Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 16 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

Looking at programming, of all the minutes watched in August by smart TVs that Inscape measured, sports took four of the top five spots, led by NBA basketball with 2.35% of the time spent watching. NHL hockey took second place (1.02%), MLB baseball was at No. 3 (0.84%) and PGA Tour Golf took fifth place with 0.74% share duration. With sports capturing so much watched time in August, many shows that were higher in the charts in July slipped in the ranking this time.

Most-watched TV shows for August 2020

On the network side of things, of all minutes watched in August, 6.72% of the time was spent on Fox News, making it No. 1 for the third month in a row, with a slight increase from July’s 6.09%. Two networks that previously didn’t make the top 50 list burst onto the scene in August: NBCSN at No. 21 and The Weather Channel at No. 24.

Most-watched TV networks August 2020

Reality Shows Ranked High for Binge-Watching

In August, the most binge-watched time-shifted shows (based on minutes binged as a percent of all binged shows that Inscape measured) were Big Brother, Yellowstone, 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?, Married at First Sight and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Viewers in August 2020 binge-watched reality shows

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

Counting SportsCenter, five out of the top 10 programs were sports, with NBA basketball leading the charge with a whopping 16.8 billion impressions — over three times as many as the No. 2 program, NHL hockey. PGA Tour Golf took sixth place, while MLB baseball racked up 2.7 billion impressions, putting in at No. 8. America’s Got Talent was the top non-news/sports show with 1.8 billion impressions, putting it at No. 16, ahead of Hurricane Laura coverage (1.6 billion impressions).

Top shows by TV ad impressions for August 2020

Looking at networks, Fox News was on top once again with 26 billion TV ad impressions, followed by NBC (17.4 billion) and CNN (15.5 billion). Thanks to NBA games, TNT saw a 564.38% month-over-month increase in impressions, moving it up the ranking from No. 22 in July to No. 8 in August. NBC Sports came in at No. 11 with 5.4 billion impressions, a month-over-month increase of 195.66%. 

Top networks by TV ad impressions for August 2020