Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN Snaps Fox News Channel's Total Day Win Streak

Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with the ball as Vincent Gray #4 of the Michigan Wolverines defends in the third quarter of the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(Image credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

ESPN kicked off 2022 on a ratings high note, ending Fox News Channel’s dominance of the weekly cable total day charts in winning both the primetime and total day races. 

The sports network, fueled by its New Year’s Eve college football playoffs telecasts, averaged 8.4 million primetime viewers to top all cable networks for the week of December 27 to January 2, according to Nielsen. For its Dec. 31 College Football Playoff semifinal games, ESPN averaged 17.2 million viewers for Georgia-Michigan and 16.6 million watchers for Cincinnati-Alabama, according to Nielsen.  

Fox News finished a distant second with 1.7 million viewers, followed by Paramount Network, which finished third with 1.5 million watchers, aided by the 9.3 million viewers the network generated for the January 2 finale of its original series Yellowstone.

Hallmark Channel finished fourth with 1.3 million viewers, followed by HGTV with 1 million viewers. TLC (932,000 viewers), TBS (851,000), MSNBC (774,000), INSP (753,000), and USA Network (751,000) rounded out the top 10 most-watched networks for the week.

ESPN also captured the top spot on the total day chart, averaging 3.1 million viewers to end Fox News’ winning streak at 45 weeks. Fox News finished second with 1.2 million viewers, followed by Hallmark Channel (783,000 viewers), Paramount Network (686,000) and HGTV (634,000), 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.