Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN Grabs Top Spot in Primetime

Running back Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers pushes off cornerback Kindle Vildor #22 and inside linebacker Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears as he carries the ball down the field during the second half at Heinz Field on Nov. 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
ESPN's Nov. 8 'Monday Night Football' game between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. (Image credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

ESPN took sole possession of first place in the primetime ratings race last week after sharing the title with Fox News Channel for the past two weeks, according to Nielsen.

ESPN — fueled by the 12.1 million viewers who watched its Nov. 8 Chicago Bears-Pittsburgh Steelers Monday Night Football telecast — averaged 3 million viewers for the week of Nov. 8-14 in primetime, distancing itself from second place Fox News, which averaged 2.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Hallmark Channel rode its original holiday-themed movies to a third-place finish with 1.4 million viewers, followed by MSNBC with 1.1 million watchers.

TLC was fifth with 865,000 viewers, followed by TBS (848,000 viewers), Paramount Network (828,000), HGTV (825,000), INSP (762,000) and Food Network (716,000.)

Fox News was the most watched network on a total-day basis for the 39th consecutive week, followed by ESPN (983,000 viewers), Hallmark Channel (804,000), MSNBC (682,000) and HGTV (514,000), said 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.