USA Dethrones ESPN With February Primetime Ratings Win

With no live college or pro football games to compete against, USA Network emerged as the most watched cable network in primetime during the month of February.

USA, in ending ESPN's football-fueled, five-month run at the top spot, rode the return of its drama series Suits (pictured) as well as its WWE Monday Night Raw franchise to an average of 1.9 million primetime viewers during the period of Jan. 26 to Feb. 22 to best all cable networks, according to Nielsen.

Fox News and Disney Channel tied for second place with with 1.8 million viewers, while TBS and Discovery tied for fourth with 1.7 million viewers.

AMC (1.6 million viewers); History (1.5 million), HGTV and TNT (tied with 1.4 million) and ESPN (1.3 million) round out the top 10 most watched networks for the month.

Nickelodeon, Adult Swim and Disney Channel finished in a virtual tie for first place over a 24-hour basis, with all three networks averaging 1.2 million viewers. Fox News’ 1.1 million viewers and USA’s 1.0 million viewers followed closely behind.

Episodes from AMC’s The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul represented half of the top 10 most-watched shows for the month, with Discovery-based shows Gold Rush and Alaskan Bush People occupying three slots and TNT’s NBA All-Star Game coverage dunking the final two positions on the list, according to Nielsen.

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.