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.

  • silvit

    @David Howell

    6.3 demo ratings.

  • Diane

    To those folks who think that “old” or “elderly” (55+) are over the hill….if you are lucky, you may get there. Nobody stays young and immature forever!

  • outcountryguest

    What is more interesting is the fact that there is not WWE in the top. I also believe that USA’s shows are affectted by their winter run. Because i remember that Royal Pains and White Collar were doing verter in the 18-49 demo than Anger Management in their summer run.

  • silvit


    Still these old folks doesn’t mean s**t for the tv business. But they are certainly in high regard of nursery homes! They are their future clients for their business! Get it now? ;-)

  • Tessa

    How in all heck is White Collar not on either of these lists when Covert Affairs that was scoring much lower ratings than it during the summer, is?

    Wait, let me guess, more old people watch CA than they do WC.

  • Tessa


    If you’re a man you should get a check up for your misogyny.

    If you’re a woman you should get a check up for your internal misogyny.

    I’m serious, it’s affecting your brain if you can say stuff like, “Women are the downfall of today’s television,” after looking for Duck Dynasty.

  • silvit


    I think you didn’t get my Duck Dynasty comment AT ALL. Look for my posts in the Wednesday cable ratings.

    And slamming women for watching stuff like the Kardashians or Teen Mom doesn’t speak misogyny, it speaks having a bit of taste. Many women like many man are not good or smart people, it’s not a matter of gender. If you think that as a woman or a man you should like a whole gender instead of individuals, you should check you hatred towards the other gender.

  • MikeS

    I have to agree with Silvit. I love women, but they watch CRAP on tv. My girlfriend watches all these retarded mtv shows.

  • tv#1

    I don’t want to sound rude, but I do have to agree with some people here. I wish channels like TNT, USA, and even CBS would stop producing all these flat and dry dramas for older audiences. They are very tedious to watch. I wish they would create some more fun livelier shows for younger audiences. Falling Skies was a good step into the right direction for TNT. It may not be a perfect drama, but it is more interesting to watch than all their other original series. They need to start capitalizing off the success of that show and create more high concept serialized dramas.

  • Stefan

    Any Live+7 numbers for WWE shows available?

  • Tim

    Wow. “Jersey Shore” and “Kourt & Kim Take NY”. The moronification of America accelerates.

    Anyone who watches those shows should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Chris

    TV is going to have to learn the same lesson the Republican Party is trying so hard not to learn–the demographics are changing. The younger the audience is, the less white it is. Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy actually do go out of their way to write good roles for people who aren’t white.

    But scripted TV as a whole is still blindingly white. So obviously appeals more to the older generation.

  • Someone

    And pretty little liars?

  • JFC

    But the flip side that the Republicans do know is this is where the money is.

  • Chris

    @JFC–but you can’t win with big money donors alone, just like you can’t win by targeting just very affluent viewers. TV and politics are both about reaching a broad cross-section of people. The networks are dying because they’re afraid to alienate their aging white base, so they can’t reach out to younger viewers. Cable is doing better, but still falling short in terms of scripted material. If you’re black or Latino, you’ve got programming specially tailored to you, and are not going to show up simply because they put in a few people who look like you–who are clearly playing second fiddle to the usual assortment of gringos.

    Funny thing is, shows with black protagonists were HUGELY popular back in the 70’s and 80’s, getting ratings nobody could hope to match today–we were watching the same shows a lot more back then. I guess cable kind of slowed down the integration process, by slicing up the audience a lot of different ways. Time to turn that around.

  • Holly


    The younger the audience is, the less white it is. Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy actually do go out of their way to write good roles for people who aren’t white.

    Right, that’s why they are popular…

    It’s been a while since I’ve watched, but aren’t all the primary characters and nearly all the regulars on Sons white? No, wait, Juice is Hispanic. Yay diversity. Since Walking Dead is based on the comics, the writers pretty much had to write in Michone at some point. So it’s not like they were thinking “there aren’t enough black characters on TV, we should write one.”

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be diversity, but I’m not sure those two shows are your best examples. How about Tyler Perry’s comedy on TBS? Or Scandal? Revolution? Last Resort? …oh wait, that was canceled…which brings us to the real issue. At the end of the day, the only color the networks care about is green. The instant shows focused on minority characters start doing well in the ratings, we’ll see them spread.


    @ Chris

    Have you seen the Closer & Major Crimes or do they skew “too old?”

    How about “Longmire” (that’s if Native Americans don’t count as “white”)

  • GB

    Silvit, Silvit, Silvit.

    Still trying to figure out if you’re a shill for a TNT rival or just a myopic individual with no real understanding of the television business. Guessing both. You bash TNT for not being in the 18-49 top 20. Yet you ignore they had four shows in the top 25-54 demo list (their long stated demo). This is as if the NFL counted only passing touchdowns and not rushing touchdowns because they want to be perceived as a passing league. Both points count and TNT is doing very very well. 25-54 matters and advertisers pay alot for it. TNT rocked the summer and is up everywhere with momentum carrying them into the new year. The Darabonts, Spielbergs, Welles, Bruckheimers and Bays of the world bring their shows to TNT for a reason. TNT is a solid, well run network who have a loyal audience base and deliver shows they like to watch and come back to again and again. A little honesty and less vitriol Silvit would be refreshing this holiday time of year.

  • Atmos

    Glad to see Breaking Bad, Sons, TWD, Suits, and BN up there. I do wish Justified could make the list. It seems like every year I have to worry about that show feeding the bear. Fortuntely, FX seems to be pretty happy with it.

  • silvit


    Ah, ignorance is blessing. Ignoring a whole list just to highlight an almost useless one which Turner doesn’t even bother to release, despite being so important…not. :-)

    A 0.7- 0.8 is not what a call a loyal audience and which they like to come back again and again.

    I’m not sure that citing Spielberg and Bruckheimer, aka the big names but old and trite products, really work your case.
    TNT like USA is way down, the only thing that really does good now is NBA, hence their Q4 increase.

    On the other hand, other channels are doing great, even better than previous years with their originals (and yes, I even include moronic channels like E!, Bravo, but well, numbers are numbers).

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