Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN Runs Away With Primetime Crown

San Diego Padres-New York Mets 2022 Wild Card Playoff Game
Almost 3 million viewers tuned into ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball’s Wild Card series. (Image credit: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

ESPN hit a ratings home run in primetime last week, bolstered by its Major League Baseball postseason coverage.

The sports network averaged 3.2 million viewers in primetime during the week of October 3 to October 9, topping all cable networks, according to Nielsen. ESPN was led by the nearly 3 million viewers on average that watched its coverage of baseball’s Wild Card playoff round. 

ESPN2 also benefited from telecasting several of baseball’s opening-round postseason games, finishing fourth for the week with an average of 815,000 viewers. 

Cable-news networks rounded out the top three most watched networks for the week, with Fox News Channel finishing second with 2.2 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 1.2 million watchers. HGTV pulled into fifth place with 787,000.

Hallmark Channel was sixth with 777,000 viewers, followed by TLC (704,000 viewers), INSP (640,000), Discovery Channel (637,000) and CNN (631,000). 

Fox News was dominant on the total-day charts, averaging 1.4 million viewers to top all cable networks for the 40th straight week, followed by ESPN (1 million viewers), MSNBC (746,000 viewers), CNN (530,000) and Hallmark Channel (449,000), Nielsen reported. ■ 

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.