ESPN sacked the rest of its basic-cable competition with its weekly edition of Monday Night Football to finish as the most watched cable network in primetime for the fifth week in a row.
ESPN's 2.6 household rating bested Disney Channel's 2.1 rating to take top honors among all basic-cable networks for the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. USA Network finished third with a 1.9 rating, followed by Fox News (1.7 rating) and Nick At Nite (1.4 rating), according to Nielsen data.
TBS and TNT (tied with a 1.2 rating), A&E (1.1) and Syfy and Cartoon Network (tied with a 1.0 rating) rounded out the top 10 networks in primetime for the week.
ESPN's Sept. 28 Carolina Panthers-Dallas Cowboys MNF matchup drew 15.7 million viewers, more than double the audience for cable's runner-up program, an Oct. 2 episode of Disney's Suite Life On Deck, which drew 6.8 million viewers. A second episode of the tween-targeted Suite Life series that night finished in fourth, drawing 4.7 million viewers, with a Sept. 9 episode of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter (5.3 million) sandwiched between the two Disney shows.
Nickelodeon was the most-watched network on a 24-hour basis, averaging a 1.5 rating, followed by Disney's 1.3 rating, Nick-At-Nite's 1.2 rating and a 1.0 rating for USA, Fox News and ESPN.
Top Cable Shows For The Week*
Show Date Network Total Viewers
1. MNF - Panthers/Cowboys 9/28 ESPN 15.7 million
2. Suite Life On Deck (8p.m.-9p.m.) 10/2 Disney 6.8 million
3. The Ultimate Fighter 9/30 Spike 5.3 million
4. Suite Life On Deck (7:30-8p.m.) 10/2 Disney 4.8 million
5. WWE Monday Night Raw (10-11:09p.m.) 9/28 USA 4.5 million
6. WWE Monday Night Raw (9p.m.-10p.m.) 9/28 USA 4.4 million
7. iCarly 10/3 Nick 4.3 million
8. Spongebob Squarepants 10/4 Nick 4.1 million
9. Hannah Montana 10/2 Disney 4.1 million
10.SportsCenter 9/28 ESPN 4.1 million
*Week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4
Source: Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen figures