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Viewers Finding Holiday Programming

'Tis the season for original holiday programming to sprinkle the weekly cable primetime ratings rakings.

Disney’ Channel's holiday special Austin & Jessie & Ally: All Star New Year – which combined the casts from the tween-targeted network’s hit series Austin & Ally and Jessie – drew 4.8 million viewers to finish fifth for the week of Dec. 3 to Dec. 9., according to Nielsen. Directly behind the special was Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning premiere telecast of the It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! special, which averaged 4.7 million viewers.

Also, a pair of Dec. 9 original movies rang up big audience numbers. Hallmark Channel’s Help For The Holidays drew 3.6 million watchers -- the most watched 2013 original movie for the network -- while ABC Family’s Mistle-Tones averaged 3.1 million viewers.

Overall ABC Family finished second among cable networks during the week with an average of 2.9 million viewers, behind football-driven ESPN’s 3.3 million viewers. Hallmark’s 1.9 million viewers placed its sixth behind USA Network (2.5 million viewers), Disney Channel (2.4 million), and A&E (2 million).

TBS (1.8 million viewers), History (1.8 million); TNT (1.7 million) and Fox News (1.7 million) rounded out the top 10.

Top 10 Most Watched Shows For The Week*

DateProgramNetworkTotal Viewers

12/3                      Monday Night Football: Giants-Redskins                 ESPN                16.2 million

12/6                      Thursday Night Football: Broncos-Raiders              NFL Network      6.7 million

12/5                      Duck Dynasty                                                           A&E                    6.4 million

12/8                      Heisman Trophy                                                      ESPN                  4.9 million

12/8                      Austin & Jessie & Ally                                              Disney                4.8 million

12/8                      It’s A SpongeBob Christmas!                                   Nick                    4.7 million

12/3                      SportsCenter                                                            ESPN                  4.7 million

12/4                      Rizzoli & Isles                                                           TNT                     4.7 million

12/7                      Gold Rush                                                                 Discovery            4.7 million

12/4                      Sons Of Anarchy                                                       FX                       4.6 million 

*Period of Dec. 3 to Dec. 9

Source: Nielsen.