Viewers Finding Holiday Programming

`SpongeBob,’ Disney Holiday Specials Rank Among Top 10 Most Watched Shows For Week

'Tis the season for original holiday programming to sprinkle the weekly cable primetime ratings rakings.

Disney’ Channel's holiday special Austin & Jessie & Ally: All Star New Year – which combined the casts from the tween-targeted network’s hit series Austin & Ally and Jessie – drew 4.8 million viewers to finish fifth for the week of Dec. 3 to Dec. 9., according to Nielsen. Directly behind the special was Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning premiere telecast of the It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! special, which averaged 4.7 million viewers.

Also, a pair of Dec. 9 original movies rang up big audience numbers. Hallmark Channel’s Help For The Holidays drew 3.6 million watchers -- the most watched 2013 original movie for the network -- while ABC Family’s Mistle-Tones averaged 3.1 million viewers.

Overall ABC Family finished second among cable networks during the week with an average of 2.9 million viewers, behind football-driven ESPN’s 3.3 million viewers. Hallmark’s 1.9 million viewers placed its sixth behind USA Network (2.5 million viewers), Disney Channel (2.4 million), and A&E (2 million).

TBS (1.8 million viewers), History (1.8 million); TNT (1.7 million) and Fox News (1.7 million) rounded out the top 10.

Top 10 Most Watched Shows For The Week*

DateProgramNetworkTotal Viewers

12/3                      Monday Night Football: Giants-Redskins                 ESPN                16.2 million

12/6                      Thursday Night Football: Broncos-Raiders              NFL Network      6.7 million

12/5                      Duck Dynasty                                                           A&E                    6.4 million

12/8                      Heisman Trophy                                                      ESPN                  4.9 million

12/8                      Austin & Jessie & Ally                                              Disney                4.8 million

12/8                      It’s A SpongeBob Christmas!                                   Nick                    4.7 million

12/3                      SportsCenter                                                            ESPN                  4.7 million

12/4                      Rizzoli & Isles                                                           TNT                     4.7 million

12/7                      Gold Rush                                                                 Discovery            4.7 million

12/4                      Sons Of Anarchy                                                       FX                       4.6 million 

*Period of Dec. 3 to Dec. 9

Source: Nielsen.