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Weekly Cable Ratings: Cable News, Sports Content Lead Charts

Fox News' Sean Hannity
(Image credit: Fox News )

Cable news networks, led by Fox News, drew big audiences in the week leading into election day, according to Nielsen.

Fox News averaged 5.1 million viewers in primetime during the week of Oct. 26 to Nov. 1 to top all cable networks for the week of Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, said Nielsen. MSNBC finished second with 2.4 million viewers followed by sports network ESPN, which averaged 2.2 million viewers.

CNN finished fourth with 1.9 million, followed by Hallmark Channel, which rode its original holiday-themed movie schedule to a fifth place finish with 1.5 million watchers. HGTV (1 million viewers), TLC (918,000), TBS Network (865,000), Food Network (835,000) and Discovery Channel (828,000) rounded out  the top 10 most watched networks for the week. 

Fox News drew 2.4 million viewers on a 24-hour basis to top all cable networks for a whopping 43rd consecutive week. MSNBC, CNN, Hallmark Channel and ESPN all finished behind Fox News, according to 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.