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Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Tops Primetime; NBA Playoffs Propel ESPN, TNT

LeBron James, #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, shoots the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Sept. 4, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
(Image credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 Fox News finished first among all cable networks for the first week in September as cable news and sports dominate the cable ratings charts.

Fox News averaged 3.5 million viewers in primetime during the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6 to lead all cable networks, with MSNBC finishing second with 2.1 million watchers, according to Nielsen.

TNT (1.7 million viewers) and ESPN (1.5 million) -- bolstered by its coverage of the NBA playoffs -- finished in third and fourth place respectively. TLC, HGTV and CNN tied for fifth with 1.2 million viewers.

NHL playoffs-fueled NBC Sports Network (1.1 million viewers), TBS (926,000) and Hallmark Channel (924,000) rounded out the top 10 most watched networks for the week. 

Fox News Channel extended its weekly total day winning streak to 35 weeks, besting MSNBC, CNN, HGTV and ESPN, said 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.