Weekly Cable Ratings: Sports Networks Score Top Primetime Slots

NFL Network
(Image credit: NFL)

Sports networks dominated the top two slots on the cable primetime charts during the last full week of 2021.

NFL Network, on the strength of the 7.8 million viewers who tuned into its Dec. 23 San Francisco 49’ers-Tennessee Titans NFL Thursday Night Football game, finished in first place during the week of December 20-December 26 with an average of 3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. 

ESPN, led by its Dec. 20 Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears Monday Night Football game, finished second for the week with 2.2 million viewers, followed by Fox News with 1.8 million watchers. 

Hallmark Channel wrapped up its holiday movies schedule in fourth place with 1.2 million viewers, followed by TBS with 1.1 million viewers. Freeform, MSNBC and Paramount Network finished tied for sixth with 1 million viewers, followed by HGTV (982,000 viewers) and TLC (818,000).

Fox News averaged 1.3 million viewers on a 24-hour basis, finishing 2021 on an impressive 45-week winning streak on the total day charts. Hallmark Channel (869,000 viewers), ESPN (838,000), NFL Network (826,000) and Freeform (616,000) rounded out the top five most-watched networks in the chart, reported Nielsen. ■       

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.