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Weekly Cable Ratings: ESPN Scores Primetime Win

ESPN's 2020 CFP National Championship telecast helped the network win cable's weekly primetime ratings race
ESPN's 2020 CFP National Championship telecast helped the network win cable's weekly primetime ratings race (Image credit: ESPN)

ESPN’s College Football Playoff National Championship telecast carried the sports network to a primetime win last week, according to Nielsen.

ESPN averaged 3.3 million viewers during the week of Jan. 11 to Jan. 17 to top all cable networks, said Nielsen. The network’s Jan. 11 Alabama-Ohio State telecast was the most watched sports/entertainment show for the week, averaging more than 18 million viewers. That number was markedly down compared to the 25 million viewers that tuned into the LSU-Clemson CFP National Championship game in January 2020, said Nielsen. 

The three major cable news networks finished in the next three spots, led by CNN’s 3.1 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 2.8 million viewers and Fox News’ 2.4 million watchers. HGTV finished fifth for the week with 1 million viewers.

Hallmark Channel (944,000), TLC (877,000), History (862,000), Discovery Channel (807,000) and TBS (782,000) all rounded out the top 10 most watched networks in primetime.

CNN averaged 2.1 million viewers on a total day basis to win the category for the second straight week, followed by MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN and HGTV, according to Nielsen.