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College Bowl Games Give ESPN A Monster Ratings Week To Lead Cable, And Beat Most Broadcast Nets

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January 4th, 2011

With the meat of the college bowl season, plus the year's last Monday Night Football matchup, ESPN had an absolutely monster ratings week to lead cable primetime viewership, and adults 18-49 viewership by huge margins. Their primetime adults 18-49 average beat all the broadcast networks except NBC, and their primetime viewership beat all except NBC and CBS.

And for the first time I can remember since we began our site, ESPN pushed Nickelodeon off the top of the total day average viewership rankings for the week. SpongeBob has met his match, for a week.

Folks hoping for ESPN to move off the top spot don't have too much longer to wait, Monday Night Football is now over for the season, and the college bowl games on ESPN wrap up on January 10.

Update: Those wondering about OWN. It premiered on Saturday, and I'm not sure if the numbers I have for it are for just Saturday and Sunday or 7 days including 5 days of Discovery Health (that it replaced). With that caveat, here were its reported numbers.

Primetime avg. viewers: 446,000

Primetime adults 18-49: 161,000

Total day avg. viewers: 229,000

For the week's top 25 individual cable programs click here.

Prime-time Average Viewers (Live+SD) Week of December 27, 2010 - January 2, 2011

Network (000s)
ESPN 7,821
USA 2,735
DSNY 2,469
TNT 2,089
HIST 1,871
NAN 1,807
TBSC 1,575
HGTV 1,470
A&E 1,449
FAM 1,357
FX 1,314
TRU 1,234
LIFE 1,205
SYFY 1,189
FOXN 1,174
TLC 1,170
FOOD 1,118
DISC 1,103
TVLD 1,070
ADSM 1,041
HALL 1,001
BET 959
AMC 940
SPK 867
MTV 860

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Adults 18-49 Prime-time Average (Live+SD)

Network (000s)
ESPN 3,274
USA 1,100
TBSC 907
TNT 827
HIST 821
FX 716
A&E 693
TRU 611
DISC 560
DSNY 552
TLC 549
FOOD 548
FAM 544
MTV 519
NAN 508
BET 501
HGTV 498
LIFE 491
SYFY 484
ADSM 483
BRAV 481
CMDY 457
AMC 453
VH1 404
SPK 380

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Total Day Average Viewers (Live+SD)

Network (000s)
ESPN 2,953
NICK 2,644
DSNY 2,055
NAN 1,728
USA 1,571
TNT 1,349
ADSM 1,230
TOON 1,040
HIST 1,031
A&E 940
TBSC 911
HGTV 902
FOXN 882
FX 876
TRU 795
LIFE 730
FOOD 727
FAM 713
TVLD 689
DISC 679
TLC 664
SPK 660
SYFY 653
AMC 625
BET 623

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Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

Cable Channel Abbreviations: NICK = Nickelodeon, NAN = Nick At Nite, TOON = Cartoon Network, ADSM = Adult Swim, TRU = truTV, LIFE = Lifetime, NKJR - Nick Jr., FAM = ABC Family, TVLD = TV Land, FOXN = Fox News, TBSC = TBS, DISC = Discovery

 
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