The NFL Network blitzed its way to the top of the basic cable ratings charts last week on the strength of two live National Football League contests.
The NFL Network averaged a 2.8 primetime household rating for the week of Dec. 14 to Dec. 20, besting ESPN's second place 2.2 rating, largely due to the outstanding performance of its own live NFL Monday Night Football telecast.
USA Network finished third with a 2.1 rating, followed by a fourth place tie between Disney Channel and Fox News Channel, which both drew a 1.7 rating. TNT and A&E (tied with a 1.5 rating), Nick At Nite and Hallmark (tied with a 1.4 rating) and ABC Family and TBS (tied with a 1.3 rating) rounded out the top 10.
USA Network was the top network of the week in terms of total viewers, averaging 2.9 million watchers, followed by ESPN (2.8 million) and Disney Channel (2.3 million)
Pro football contests dominated the top spots among the most watched shows of the week. ESPN's Dec. 14 St. Louis Cardinals-San Francisco 49'ers Monday Night Football telecast topped all basic cable network shows by garnering 13 million viewers, followed by NFL Network's Dec. 19 Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans Saints contest (10 million viewers) and its Dec. 17 Indianapolis Colts-Jacksonville Jaguars game (6.1 million viewers.)
TNT's new original series Men Of A Certain Age remained strong in its second week, averaging 4.4 million viewers to round out the week's top 10 shows. The Dec. 7 premiere of the middle-aged buddy series starring Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula averaged 5.4 million viewers.
Top 10 Most Watched Shows For The Week*
1. 12/14 NFL Monday Night Football ESPN 13 million
2. 12/19 NFL Football -- Cowboys-Saints NFL Network 10.4 million
3. 12/17 NFL Football - Colts-Jaguars NFL Network 6.1 million
4. 12/14 The Closer TNT 5.4 million
5. 12/14 WWE Monday Night Raw USA Network 5.3 million
6. 12/19 NFL Pre-Game Show NFL Network 5.1 million
7. 12/14 WWE Monday Night Raw USA Network 5.1 million
8. 12/16 NCIS USA Network 4.7 million
9. 12/19 Spongebob Squarepants Nickelodeon 4.7 million
10. 12/14 Men Of A Certain Age TNT 4.4 million
* Week of Dec. 14 to Dec. 20
Source: Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen data.