In a rare summer upset, Disney Channel -- led by the Wizards of Waverly Place telefilm, cable's most-watched show of the year -- bested USA Network for top primetime ratings honors among cable networks for the week of Aug. 24-30.
But USA finished as the clear winner among all cable networks for the month of August.
The "characters welcome" network easily outdistanced Disney during the period of July 27 to Aug. 30, averaging a 2.9 primetime rating/3.7 million viewers compared to Disney's 2.2 rating/3.1 million rating, according to a Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research.
TNT (2.0 rating/2.5 million viewers); Fox News Channel (1.8 rating/2.2 million) and Nick-At-Nite (1.5 rating/1.9 million) rounded out the top five most-watched networks for the month.
Nickelodeon's 1.7 rating/2.2 million viewers topped all networks on a 24-hour basis for the month, followed by Disney (1.6 rating/1.9 million), NAN (1.3/1.6 million), USA (1.3/1.5 million) and TNT (1.1/1.3 million).
During the last week of the month, Disney rode the magic ratings carpet of its Aug. 29 Wizards of Waverly Place original movie to average a 2.8 household rating and 3.9 million viewers, edging USA's 2.7 rating/3.6 million viewers.
The telefilm, which drew 11.4 million viewers, is the most-watched cable show so far this year.
TNT, on the heels of another strong performance from the Kyra Sedgwick-starrer The Closer, finished third with 2.2 million viewers and Fox News finished in a virtual tie for third, each with 2.24 million viewers.
ESPN (1.8 million viewers), Nick At Nite (1.7 million), TBS (1.66 million), A&E (1.62 million), HGTV (1.4 million) and CNN (1.39 million) rounded out the top 10.
Top Shows for the Month Of August*
1. 8/28 Wizards of Waverly Place Movie Disney Channel 11.4 million
2. 8/6 Burn Notice USA 9.1 million
3. 8/8 iCarly Movie Nickelodeon 8.9 million
4. 7/27 The Closer TNT 8.8 million
5. 8/3 The Closer TNT 8.3 million
6. 7/30 Burn Notice USA 8.3 million
7. 8/10 The Closer TNT 8.2 million
8. 8/6 Royal Pains USA 8.1 million
9. 7/30 Royal Pains USA 7.9 million
10. 8/24 The Closer TNT 7.3 million
* Period of July 27 to Aug. 30
Source: Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research.