Make it three weeks of ratings wins in a row for ESPN as the all-sports network blitzed the basic cable competition with its highly-rated Monday Night Football debut.
ESPN averaged 4.4 million viewers in primetime last week, good for first place among all basic cable networks during the week of Sept. 14 to Sept. 20, according to Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research. USA Network finished second with 3.3 million viewers, followed by Fox News (2.6 million) and Disney Channel (2.5 million).
Four networks (A&E, Nick-At-Nite, Cartoon Network and TNT) averaged 1.5 million viewers for the week, while TBS (1.4 million) and FX (1.3 million) rounded out the top 10.
ESPN's Sept. 14 Monday Night Football doubleheader telecasts finished as the top two most watched shows of the week. The Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots averaged 14 million viewers in becoming the second most-watched show on cable thus far this year behind Monday's Indianapolis Colts-Miami Dolphins MNF telecast, while the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game drew 11.9 million viewers in the late night contest.
Spike's 10th season debut of its mixed martial arts reality series The Ultimate Fighter on Sept. 16 drew a network original series record 4.1 million viewers, good for 10th place on the list of most watched shows for the week.
Top 10 Most Watched Shows*
Show Date Network Total Viewers
1. MNF: Bills-Patriots 9/14 ESPN 14.0 million
2. MNF: Chargers-Raiders 9/14 ESPN 11.9 million
3. WWE Raw (10:00-11:07) 9/14 USA 5.1 million
4. Hannah Montana 9/20 Disney 5.0 million
5. Monk 9/20 Disney 4.8 million
6. NCIS 9/16 USA 4.7 million
7. WWE Entertainment (9 to 10) 9/14 USA 4.7 million
8. Suite Life On Deck 9/18 Disney 4.5 million
9. College Football 9/17 ESPN 4.3 million
10.The Ultimate Fighter 9/16 Spike 4.1 million
*For the week of Sept. 14-20
Source: Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research.