ESPN utterly dominated the cable rankings for the final week of 2016 (plus one day of 2017). The network captured 22 of the Top 25 spots (including ties) in both adults 18-49 and viewers thanks to the last “Monday Night Football” of the season and its college football bowl coverage.

“MNF” led the week with season highs of 5.8 in adults 18-49 and 18.61 million viewers. The two College Football Playoff semifinal games were up vs. 2015, with Clemson-Ohio State (5.5) edging Alabama-Washington (5.3) in adults 18-49 and the two games switching spots among viewers. Both games averaged more than 18 million viewers.

Top 25 cable shows (including ties) in adults 18-49 for Dec. 26, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017

Rank Show Net Day Time 18-49 Rating 18-49 Viewers (000s)
1 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – LIONS/COWBOYS ESPN M…… 8:15 PM 5.8 7,407
2 CFP SEMIFINAL – OHIO ST./CLEMSON ESPN …..Sa. 7:10 PM 5.5 7,121
3 CFP SEMIFINAL – WASHINGTON/ALABAMA ESPN …..Sa. 3:12 PM 5.3 6,788
4 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 6:56 PM 4.8 6,139
5 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 6:38 PM 4.7 6,062
6 ORANGE BOWL – MICHIGAN/FLORIDA ST. ESPN ….F.. 8:11 PM 3.4 4,323
7 CFP POSTGAME ESPN …..Sa. 10:32 PM 3.1 4,029
8 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 2:56 PM 2.6 3,390
9 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 7:58 PM 2.1 2,649
10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 11:58 PM 2.0 2,534
11 SPORTSCENTER ESPN M…… 11:43 PM 1.7 2,158
12 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN …..Sa. 2:33 PM 1.6 2,098
COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 7:17 PM 1.6 2,040
14 MUSIC CITY BOWL – TENNESSEE/NEBRASKA ESPN ….F.. 3:30 PM 1.4 1,782
15 ALAMO BOWL – OKLAHOMA ST./COLORADO ESPN …Th… 9:32 PM 1.3 1,714
BELK BOWL – ARKANSAS/VIRGINIA TECH ESPN …Th… 5:42 PM 1.3 1,711
SPORTSCENTER ESPN …..Sa. 10:56 PM 1.3 1,695
18 RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL – W. VIRGINIA/MIAMI ESPN ..W…. 5:39 PM 1.2 1,539
MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN ESPN M…… 6:23 PM 1.2 1,497
LOVE AND HIP HOP VH1 M…… 8:00 PM 1.2 1,494
21 TEXAS BOWL – KANSAS ST./TEXAS A&M ESPN ..W…. 9:05 PM 1.1 1,426
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW USA M…… 8:00 PM 1.1 1,358
23 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW USA M…… 9:00 PM 1.0 1,316
STREET OUTLAWS DISC M…… 9:00 PM 1.0 1,275
SPORTSCENTER ESPN ….F.. 12:11 AM 1.0 1,259
HOLIDAY BOWL – MINNESOTA/WASHINGTON ST. ESPN .Tu….. 7:03 PM 1.0 1,235
THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND HIST .Tu….. 9:00 PM 1.0 1,229
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW USA M…… 10:00 PM 1.0 1,222

 

Top 25 cable shows in viewers for Dec. 26, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017

Rank Show Net Day Time Viewers (000s)
1 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – LIONS/COWBOYS ESPN M…… 8:15 PM 18,611
2 CFP SEMIFINAL – WASHINGTON/ALABAMA ESPN …..Sa. 3:12 PM 18,449
3 CFP SEMIFINAL – OHIO ST./CLEMSON ESPN …..Sa. 7:10 PM 18,396
4 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 6:56 PM 15,665
5 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 6:38 PM 15,091
6 ORANGE BOWL – MICHIGAN/FLORIDA ST. ESPN ….F.. 8:11 PM 11,469
7 CFP PREGAME ESPN …..Sa. 2:56 PM 9,791
8 CFP POSTGAME ESPN …..Sa. 10:32 PM 9,782
9 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 7:58 PM 7,323
10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN …..Sa. 2:33 PM 6,051
11 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 11:58 PM 5,543
12 MUSIC CITY BOWL – TENNESSEE/NEBRASKA ESPN ….F.. 3:30 PM 5,030
13 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STUDIO SHOW ESPN ….F.. 7:17 PM 4,992
14 BELK BOWL – ARKANSAS/VIRGINIA TECH ESPN …Th… 5:42 PM 4,966
15 ALAMO BOWL – OKLAHOMA ST./COLORADO ESPN …Th… 9:32 PM 4,553
16 SPORTSCENTER ESPN M…… 11:43 PM 4,419
17 RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL – W. VIRGINIA/MIAMI ESPN ..W…. 5:39 PM 4,254
18 HOLIDAY BOWL – MINNESOTA/WASHINGTON ST. ESPN .Tu….. 7:03 PM 4,048
19 TEXAS BOWL – KANSAS ST./TEXAS A&M ESPN ..W…. 9:05 PM 3,793
20 THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND HIST .Tu….. 9:00 PM 3,680
21 SPORTSCENTER ESPN …..Sa. 10:56 PM 3,607
22 A ROSE FOR CHRISTMAS HALL ……Su 8:00 PM 3,495
23 MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN ESPN M…… 6:23 PM 3,472
24 GOLD RUSH DISC ….F.. 9:00 PM 3,300
25 LIBERTY BOWL – GEORGIA/TCU ESPN ….F.. 12:00 PM 3,132

All ratings are live + same-day. Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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