USA earned the biggest audience of any basic cable network during prime in first quarter, averaging 2.64 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Buoyed once again by wrestling and Monk, USA was followed by TNT at 2.31 million and TBS with 1.71 million.
ESPN claimed four of the top 10 most viewed basic cable programs for the quarter, with its Jan. 1 Rams/Cowboys game topping the list at 9.06 million total viewers at 8:30 p.m. ET. Coming in at No. 2 was an 8 p.m. episode of SpongeBob on Nick Feb. 20, which earned 8.65 million total viewers.
Joining ESPN in the top 10 were Disney’s High School Musical, the fourth-most-viewed program of the quarter (7.76 million total viewers at 8 p.m. Jan. 20); TNT’s East vs. West game, the fifth-most-viewed program (7.04 million total viewers Feb.19 at 8:48 p.m.); Fox News’ State of the Union coverage, the eighth-most-viewed program (6.47 million total viewers Jan. 31 at 9 p.m.); and TNT’s Budweiser Shootout, the ninth-most-viewed program (6.15 million total viewers Feb. 12 at 4:30 p.m.).