ESPN took the top four cable-programming spots in total-day viewing for the week ending Dec. 26 as sports and SpongeBob SquarePants continue to dominate cable viewing, with some Law & Order:Special Victims Unit thrown in for good measure.
The Browns/Dolphins NFL matchup Dec. 26 nabbed 5.5 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. ESPN also scored with the Broncos/Titans game on Christmas Day, with 5.4 total viewers, NFL Prime Time on Dec. 26 with 3.2 million total viewers and the Pistons/Pacers NBA rematch on Christmas with 3.1 million total viewers.
The NBA made sure the Christmas spirit--players handing out presents to fans--was much in evidence during the Pistons/Pacers game, a reunion of two teams that five weeks before had drawn fines and suspensions for a bench-clearing, fan-whacking televised brawl that gave the league a big shiner in the PR department.
A scripted show made it into the top five, Law & Order on TNT, with 3.1 million total viewers, followed by episodes of SpongeBob on Nickelodeon and a Law & Order: SVU episode on USA.