USA Tops Weekly Primetime Ratings Race

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USA Network remained perfect in December, winning the weekly cable ratings race for the second week in a row.

Boosted by its coverage of the popular WWE Monday Night Raw, USA averaged a 2.3 household rating for the week of Dec. 8 through Dec. 14, narrowly besting second place finisher ESPN (2.2), according to Nielsen Media Research. 

Disney Channel and Fox News Channel tied for third place with a 1.9 rating, while Hallmark Channel’s holiday-themed  programming helped it to a fifth place finish with a 1.6 rating. ABC Family, which is benefiting from its annual “25 Days of Christmas” programming stunt, was sixth with a 1,5 average.

Rounding out the top 10 were TBS, Lifetime Television, Nick at Nite and TNT, all of which finished the week with a 1.4 mark.

ESPN’s Dec. 8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Carolina Panthers Monday Night Football telecast topped all shows for the week, drawing 11.3 million viewers, while each individual hour of USA Network’s three-hour Dec. 8 WWE Monday Night Raw telecast finished among the top six most-watched shows for the week. 

Content from tween-targeted networks Disney and Nickelodeon dominated the rest of the top 20 list for the week, securing 13 of the remaining 16 spots.

Five episodes from Nickelodeon’s venerable SpongeBob SquarePants series finished in the top 20, including a 4.5 million viewer performance from a Dec. 13 episode that aired at 9:30 a.m. – good for fourth place on the list.

A Dec. 12 day-long Suite Life On Deck marathon notched another five spots, led by an 8 p.m. original episode that drew a fifth-best weekly audience of 4.2 million viewers.

Dec. 14 episode airings of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana, as well as a Dec. 8 telecast of feature film Santa Clause 2, filled the final three kids-targeted programming slots.

ESPN’s Dec. 13 Heisman Trophy presentation, Hallmark Channel’s Dec. 13 original holiday movie special The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year and USA Network’s Dec. 10 NCIS episode telecast rounded out the top 20.