Weekly Cable Ratings: College Football Title Game Fuels ESPN's Primetime Win

2023 CFP National Championship game in Los Angeles between Georgia and TCU
More than 16 million viewers watched Georgia demolish TCU in the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship. (Image credit: Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ESPN ended its coverage of the 2022 college football season at the top of the primetime ratings chart.

Bolstered by the more than 16 million viewers who tuned into Georgia’s blowout of TCU in the January 9 College Football Playoff National Championship game, ESPN averaged 3 million viewers in primetime during the week of January 9-15 to top all cable networks for the second week in a row, according to Nielsen.

Fox News Channel finished second with 2.2 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 1 million viewers, Hallmark Channel’s 870,000 viewers and HGTV’s 838,000 watchers. 

Rounding out the top 10 most watched networks in primetime were History (764,000 viewers), TBS (661,000), INSP (655,000), TLC (651,000) and TNT (624,000), said the network.

Fox News topped the total-day chart for the second week in a row, averaging 1.4 million viewers. ESPN was second with 881,000 viewers, followed by MSNBC (659,000), Hallmark Channel (461,000) and HGTV (459,000), reported 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.