For the weekly overall top cable network rankings, click here.

As usual, Monday Night Football topped the cable charts.    Lebron James’ return to Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat and surrounding coverage grabbed the second and third spots on this week’s list.

The Thursday night game on NFL Network (which is available in fewer homes than ESPN) grabbed the fourth spot.

The Walking Dead killed it in its season finale, setting series highs with a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating and 5.97 million viewers.

Sarah Palin’s Alaska shed about 700,000 viewers and was well out of  the top 25 with 2.78 million viewers.

The Big Time Rush Christmas Special scored 4.96 million viewers on Saturday night on Nick.  Hannah Montanna was close behind Sunday night with 4.91 million and Disney’s Shake it Up drew 4.26 million.

Though Burn Notice and the season three finale of Sons of Anarchy round out the bottom of the list below, they ranked much higher with the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

All numbers below are live plus same day DVR viewing up to 3am after the initial telecast.

Top 25  Basic cable shows for the week ending December 5, 2010:

Rank Program Network Day Time Viewers (000)
1 49ERS/CARDINALS ESPN Mon 08:30P-11:47P 11,202
2 NBA PRE-GAME SHOW TNT Thu 08:00P-08:11P 7,604
3 HEAT/CAVALIERS TNT Thu 08:11P-10:59P 7,096
4 WALKING DEAD AMC Sun 10:00P-11:00P 5,972
5 2010 – TEXANS VS. EAGLES NFLN Thu 08:30P-11:35P 5,406
6 WWE ENTERTAINMENT USA Mon 09:00P-10:00P 5,180
7 WWE ENTERTAINMENT USA Mon 10:00P-11:08P 5,069
10 SHAKE IT UP DSNY Sun 08:30P-09:00P 4,263
11 HOW THE GRINCH STOLE XMAS FAM Wed 08:00P-10:30P 4,243
12 SUITE LIFE ON DECK DSNY Fri 08:00P-08:30P 4,199
13 ICARLY NICK Sat 07:30P-08:00P 4,198
14 SONNY WITH A CHANCE DSNY Sun 09:00P-09:30P 4,086
15 SPONGEBOB THE MOVIE NICK Mon 06:00P-08:00P 4,079
16 SPONGEBOB NICK Sat 09:00A-09:30A 4,040
17 SPONGEBOB NICK Sat 09:30A-10:00A 4,036
18 WWE ENTERTAINMENT USA Mon 08:00P-09:00P 4,025
19 SPONGEBOB NICK Sun 09:30A-10:00A 3,995
20 PHINEAS AND FERB DSNY Fri 08:30P-09:10P 3,896
21 SPONGEBOB NICK Sun 09:00A-09:30A 3,846
22 SPONGEBOB NICK Tue 06:00P-06:30P 3,794
23 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Mon 08:00P-09:00P 3,714
24 BURN NOTICE USA Thu 10:00P-11:00P 3,695
25 SONS OF ANARCHY FX Tue 10:00P-11:32P 3,598

We always post whatever specific show data we received directly and see via press release or other trade publications.  You can  subscribe to our RSS feed and we have created a special category (Overnight Cable TV Show Ratings)  to group the data we typically post each weekday from  @TravisYanan on Twitter.  During the week Travis usually posts selected cable results for each weekday, usually late in the afternoon on the east coast (and Friday night data isn’t posted until Monday) and he posts the links to that info on his Twitter account to the info on Marc Berman’s PI Forums.

Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.  All ratings above Live+SD (live viewing plus same day DVR viewing)

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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