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
Prime-time Average Viewers (Live+SD) Week of December 27, 2010 - January 2, 2011
Adults 18-49 Prime-time Average (Live+SD)
Total Day Average Viewers (Live+SD)
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