ESPN Top Cable Net in December


Boasting the six highest-rated programs on cable for December, ESPN charged to the top of the monthly cable Nielsen rankings.

The sports net finished the month with an impressive 2.4 average household rating in prime time and 2.9 million viewers. ESPN’s Dec. 21 telecast of the Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts NFL game collected an 8.7 rating, the best performance for a cable show in December. All six of ESPN’s Sunday Night Football NFL games scored better than a 5.0 rating.

Nickelodeon and USA Network each turned in a 1.9 average in prime. Nick’s viewership was a bit higher, with 2.1 million viewers to USA Network’s 2.0 million. Rounding out the top five were TNT (1.8 rating, 2.0 million viewers) and TBS Superstation (1.8 rating, 1.9 million viewers).

ABC Family enjoyed an unusually strong month, thanks to holiday-themed programming. The channel averaged a 1.1 rating and 971,000 viewers, almost doubling its Nielsen marks in recent months.

Several other nets perked up slightly in December. Sci Fi Channel recorded a 1.1 average with 1.1 million viewers. The History Channel edged up to a 1.0 rating with 1.0 million viewers. And Bravo’s prime time average nudged up to a 0.6 rating with 485,000 viewers.