Monday Night Football helped ESPN score a touchdown in the October cable ratings. The network averaged 3.54 million total viewers in prime for the month, more than a million more than its closest competitor among ad-supported networks, according to Nielsen Media Research.
ESPN, which posted five most-viewed basic cable programs for the month, was up 23% year-to-year for the month of October in both total viewers and viewers 18-49, to an average 1.74 million viewers in the demo. The network's Oct. 23 Giants/Cowboys game claimed the most viewers in October, with an average 16 million viewers between 8:30 p.m. and midnight.
USA, which was down 1% in total viewers from last year, came in second for the month with 2.43 million total viewers. The network averaged 1.08 million in the demo, down 7% from last year. TNT ranked third with 2.01 million viewers, down 6% from last year. TNT averaged 909,000 viewers in the demo, also down 6% year to year.
Several other cable entertainment networks saw big gains in October. A&E was up 18% year to year to an average 1.18 million total viewers in prime; Scripps' HGTV was up 17% to 1.03 million total viewers;VH1 jumped 40% to 908,000; Discovery's Discovery Channel and TLC were both up - 20% to 1.01 million and 15% to 806,000, respectively; Bravo grew 49% to 663,000; and E! was up 19% to 472,000 total viewers.
Meanwhile, several networks dipped. Cartoon Network dropped 10% to 1.46 million; Lifetime dropped 29% to 1.28 million; MTV Networks' Nick at Nite dropped 18% to 1.39 million, Spike dropped 11% to 1.18 million, MTV dropped 16% to 863,000 and TV Land dropped 20% to 847,000.