Football, Pro and College, Lifts ESPN in November

'MNF' Powers Sports Net To Primetime Victory

It’s football season, so that means ESPN stood atop basic-cable’s primetime ratings during the month of November.

Boosted by cable’s top franchise, Monday Night Football, ESPN finished the period that spanned the Nielsen calendar of Oct. 28-Nov. 24 averaging 3.16 million viewers, up 3% from 3.08 million in November 2012 (Oct. 29-Nov. 25), according to a Disney Media Networks analysis of a blend of Nielsen live-plus-seven-day and same-day data.

Led by the 16.2 million who tuned in to the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers tilt on Nov. 4, the worldwide leader listed a quartet of MNF telecasts that finished among cable’s top 10 programs in November.

College-football matchups, including the 5.76 million who watched Stanford upset previously unbeaten Oregon on Nov. 7, also lifted ESPN, which held more than a 1 million edge in average audience over its nearest November competitors.


Disney Channel, which scored 4.7 million viewers with the Nov. 24 debut of Sofia the First: The Floating Palace, was second for the month, averaging 2.09 million watchers, down 14% from 2.42 million a year ago.

Fox News Channel was third, easily outdistancing its news-sector competitors MSNBC and CNN. The news category’s performance declined significantly from last year, when the 2012 presidential battle was in full swing.

Annual ratings leader USA Network was fourth for the month, garnering 1.96 million viewers on average, 27% fewer than its 2.7 million from a year ago.

AMC, lifted by The Walking Dead, rang up an 11% audience advance to 1.79 million viewers from 1.62 millio to complete the top five. The zombie series scared up the top two shows for the month — 18.6 million on Nov. 3 and 17.1 million the following week — and four of the top six.

Bolstered by “Countdown to Christmas,” Hallmark Channel was sixth for the month, counting 1.78 million viewers on average, a 38% surge from 1.28 million in November 2012. The Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 presentations A Very Merry Mix-Up and The Christmas Ornament drew 4.75 million and 4.31 million viewers, ranking 25th and 38th among cable’s top 100

TBS, still riding the benefit of The Big Bang Theory, was seventh with 1.76 million watchers, off 2% from 1.80 million in the corresponding year-earlier period.

Rounding out the top 10: History, down 13% to 1.65 million from 1.90 million; FX, flat at 1.61 million, with strong performances from Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story that countered the migration of original fare to FXX; and TNT, which shed 7% of its average audience to 1.50 million from 1.63 million in November 2012.