ESPN Leads Weekly Primetime Race With College, Pro Pigskin Coverage


Led by pro and college football action, ESPN wore cable’s primetime crown last week.

The total sports network averaged a 2.6 household rating and almost 3.43 million viewers during the week of Nov. 10-16, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks analysis of Nielsen Media Research, live + same-day data. 

ESPN’s numbers were boosted by the top show of the week, the Nov. 10 Monday Night Football match-up in which the Arizona Cardinals held off the San Francisco 49ers, which drew 11.9 million viewers, as well as 4.96 million viewers and 2.69 million watchers for Thursday (Alabama-Mississippi State) and Saturday college football games on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, respectively.

USA Network and Fox News were tied for second, both with a 2.0 household ratings, translating into 2.61 million and 2.49 million viewers, respectively.

Disney Channel, benefiting from episodes of Hannah Montana and the Suite Life on Deck, was fourth with a 1.5 ratings average and 2.13 million viewers.

Turner sister services TBS (2.06 million) and TNT (1.76 million) were tied for fifth, each with a 1.4 average.

Nick at Nite and Lifetime, buoyed by the 4.2 million who tuned in the Nov. 15 premiere of telefilm, The Two Mr. Kissels, were next, both with 1.3 averages. 

Comedy Central, scoring with its top-ever special, Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special, which pulled in 6.6 million viewers on Nov. 16, the most ever for the service, finished the week in ninth at 1.2.

There was a logjam for the 10th spot, as CNN, Cartoon Network, MSNBC, Hallmark Channel and NFL Network, all closed the period with a 1.1 household ratings average.

The pro football league’s in-house network pulled in some 4.4 million viewers for the Nov. 13 Thursday Night Football contest in which the New York Jets topped the New England Patriots in overtime, 34-31.