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Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN Opens Year on Top of Ratings Charts

Najee Harris (22) of The University of Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Rose Bowl presented by Capital One (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)
ESPN topped the weekly cable ratings charts during the first week of 2021 (Image credit: ESPN)

ESPN scored a pair of ratings wins during the first week of the year, topping both the primetime and total day charts.

ESPN, on the strength of its New Year’s Day College Football Playoff games, averaged 6.4 million viewers during the week of Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan. 4, 2021, according to Nielsen. ESPN’s Jan. 1 Alabama-Notre Dame and Ohio State-Clemson CFP semifinal telecasts averaged nearly 19 million viewers.

The cable news channels took the next three slots, with Fox News finishing second with 1.7 million and CNN in third with 1.5 million, followed by MSNBC and Hallmark Channel, both averaging 1.4 million viewers.

Read Also: Fox News Grabs 2020 Ratings Crown 

HGTV and TNT tied for sixth with 1.2 million, followed by TLC (953,000), History (943,000) and TBS (928,000), said Nielsen.

ESPN topped the total day race with 2.4 million viewers, followed by CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Hallmark Channel, 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.