Top Twenty Basic Cable Shows of 2012 Including 'Walking Dead', 'Jersey Shore' & 'Suits'

Categories: 1-Featured,Cable TV

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December 12th, 2012


The top 20 Basic Cable Shows among Adults 18-49 include 8 scripted programs, 11 reality series and 1 comedy clip show.

The top 20 Basic Cable shows among Total Viewers include 14 scripted programs and 6 reality series.



Source: Turner Research from The Nielsen Company data. Based on most current 2012 data available: Final Live+7 (12/26/11-11/25/12) blended with Live+SD (11/26/12-12/09/12). 2-telecast minimum. Kids networks excluded.

  • DRogens

    Old people love them some TNT and History Channel.

  • silvit

    Are you surprised? Look at the characters/stories of their shows. Definitely for older generations. They are so out of touch with young people it’s no wonder young people don’t watch them. Copy cats over copy cats.

    And where is Duck Dynasty? :-)

  • D

    Although it’s not as strong as it used to be ratings wise, I am surprised Burn Notice wasn’t in the top 20 in the A18 – 49 list. I thought it would rank somewhere near the bottom of that list.

  • Jonas

    Woo! Walking dead, Suits, & Falling Skies in both lists.

  • Jonas


  • MT

    Some comments on this site are so funny. What do you have against older people watching TV? What is to you what age people who watch a certain show are? If you’re not working for an advertising company then you just sound like an idiot. And even then. I think everyone should count, it shows how popular a show is. Smart shows are mostly watched by mature people anyway. Just see the reality crap and how great they’re doing in the demo. If I were writing a show, I’d be happier if older, smarter people watched my TV show than those younger airheads.

  • silvit


    I think Burn Notice, unlike Suits, is “handicapped” by its winter run. The ratings for the winter run are lower and are included in this list (and for last week and maybe even two weeks ago ratings the ratings are not live+ 7 days but only live+ same day, and this obviously negatively impacts its average).

    Burn Notice did better than Suits in its summer run according to live + same day and in live + 7 days their numbers were quite similar. So it’s not possible it’s so far down in the list if not for the winter disadvantage.

    I also think that Rizzoli & Isles is suffering the same problem since if I remember correctly, in the summer run its average was higher (and you know how TNT likes its live+ 7 days press release), both in total viewers and in 18-49.
    Wow, I’n surprised by myself. I’ve been able to say something not totally negative about TNT. :-)

    What it surprises me more is the absence of other USA shows like White Collar or Royal Pains which only had a summer run yet they are not on the list.

  • Oliver

    TNT: Elderly, period.

  • Chris

    Wow. More Adults 18-49 are watching Teen Mom II over Suits.

    The world is truly ending on the 21st of this month.

  • silvit


    Young people watch shows like SOA and Breaking Bad according to this list. Do you want to tell me that Dallas or Perception are better, smarter shows? I hope not, otherwise LOL.

  • silvit


    Well, I’d guess Teen Mom audience is composed almost entirely by women. So it’s not more adults.

    Women are the downfall of today’s television. No wonder I feel more at ease with men than women. ;-)

  • Mike, DDS

    Apparently TNT is the CBS of cable.

  • silvit


    That’s why TNT doesn’t offer anything remotely innovative or good.

  • silvit


    Well, so are its shows. Idiotic crime procedurals. It’s obvious the people watching their shows are of the same cloths.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Maureen Ryan offered her list of the best shows. Hunted and Strike Back got a nod from her. She said Cinemax was going forward with season two of Hunted, which I hadn’t heard confirmed yet.

    I would also remind some idiots that 18-49 demo covers more than half the average age range of the usual human being in the US – since most people die around 74-78.

    If you’re 40-49, are you in the “younger” group? I doubt most twenty-somethings would agree…

    Also, since reality shows do so well, I suspect we have to blame the 18-49 group for that. So I’m glad I’m 63 and can’t be blamed for that crap. :-)


    I’m happy to say TWD was #1 on both charts

    It’s sad to say that Jersey Shore made both charts as well


    @ RS Hack

    You mean you can’t relate to Teen Mom either?

  • Hafiz Halwi

    No White Collar? Nevermind, The Walking Dead and Suits are on both lists.

  • David Howell

    That lead for Walking Dead is *huge*. What does that near-8m average translate to in terms of Nielsen points?

  • romo

    Who did this list ?

    MNF is really #1.

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