Through Dec. 25, TNT ranked as the most-viewed ad-supported cable network for the year, with an average 2.57 million total viewers in prime, up 5% from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.
(Due to a clerical error, TNT, the most-viewed network, was left off a ratings item yesterday that gave the crown to USA, which was, instead, tops in December).
This is the third consecutive year that TNT has taken the #1 slot with total viewers and households in prime.
USA was second with 2.33 million (up 2% from last year), followed by Nick at Nite with 1.88 million (up 4% from last year), ESPN at 1.84 million (down 3%) and Fox News at 1.77 million (up 6%).
Sports continuted to dominate.
Football games on ESPN took the top seven spots among cable programs for the year, with a Sept. 11 Colts/Ravens game at 8:30 p.m. earning the most viewers with 11.25 million. A June 6 Pistons/Heat game on TNT took the eighth slot with 9.15 million total viewers.
That was followed by five more football games on ESPN, the Feb. 20 East vs. West NBA All-Star Game on TNT (8.08 million total viewers) and the 2005 Video Music Awards on MTV (8.01 million total viewers).
For fourth quarter, ESPN ranked as the top-viewed ad-supported network in prime with 2.87 million viewers, followed by USA with 2.66 million, TNT with 2.18 million and Lifetime with 1.8 million.
For the month of December, USA was the top ratings earner with 2.92 million total viewers in prime.
The network was boosted by strong showings for WWE programming and an unusually scheduled fresh episode of Monk. For December alone, ESPN took second with 2.76 million viewers, TNT took third with 2.33 million, and TBS was fourth with 2.07 million.