Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Sacks ESPN to Top Primetime Charts

'Fox News Sunday's' Shannon Bream
'Fox News Sunday's' Shannon Bream (Image credit: Fox News )

Fox News Channel upended football-fueled ESPN to finish first in primetime last week as the fall television season begins to ramp up. 

Fox News averaged 2.1 million viewers in primetime during the week of September 19-25 to top all cable networks and end ESPN’s three-week winning streak, according to Nielsen. The sports network finished second with an average of 2 million viewers, followed by MSNBC with 1.2 million viewers. HGTV was fourth with 821,000 viewers and USA Network finished fifth with 707,000 watchers.

Rounding out the top 10 list of most watched cable networks in primetime were INSP (683,000 viewers), Hallmark Channel (680,000), CNN (674,000), TLC (643,000) and Food Network (622,000).

Fox News continued its dominance of the total-day charts by finishing first for the 38th straight week, followed by MSNBC (844,000 viewers), ESPN (773,000), CNN (603,000) and HGTV (449,000), according to 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.