Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN, Hallmark Dominate Thanksgiving Week Viewership

Candace Cameron Bure and Robert Markus star in Hallmark Channel's 'If I Only Had Christmas'
Candace Cameron Bure and Robert Markus star in Hallmark Channel's 'If I Only Had Christmas' (Image credit: Hallmark Channel)

Cable viewers took a respite from the cable news networks during the Thanksgiving week, as ESPN and Hallmark Channel led the cable ratings charts.

ESPN, fueled by its lineup of holiday weekend college football games, was the most watched cable network during the week of Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, averaging 3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Hallmark Channel rode its popular holiday-themed original movies to a second place finish with 2.5 million viewers. The network was led by its Nov. 29 film If I Only Had Christmas, which averaged nearly 4 million viewers, said Nielsen. 

Related: Cover Story: Holiday Cheer

The three cable news networks rounded out the top five most watched cable services for the week, led by Fox News’ average of 2 million viewers, MSNBC’s 1.6 million viewers and CNN’s 1.4 million watchers, reported Nielsen.

On a total day basis, Hallmark Channel took the crown, averaging 1.1 million viewers. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and ESPN followed closely behind, 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.