Despite a record turnout for Monday Night Football, baseball ruled the week, as TBS’ coverage of the MLB playoffs earned cable’s top spot in prime time.
For the week ended Oct. 11, TBS enjoyed its best deliveries in its 33-year history, averaging 5.41 million total viewers, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. The Turner network also put together a record demo performance, averaging 2.54 million adults 25-54, 2.46 million viewers 18-49 and 1.12 million viewers 18-34.
Among total viewers, TBS’ average delivery marked a 232 percent improvement over its prior-week average (1.63 million).
TBS laid claim to seven of the week’s top 10 most-watched telecasts, including: Game 3 of the Yankees-Twins ALDS (6.79 million viewers); Game 1 of that same series (6.61 million) and the Tigers-Twins play-in game on Oct. 6, which drew 6.54 million viewers. Other big draws were: Game 2 of the Yankees-Twins series (6.48 million viewers); Game 2 of the Cardinals-Dodgers NLDS (5.18 million); Game 2 of the Red Sox-Angels ALDS (5.07 million) and Game 1 of the Cards-Dodgers showdown (4.97 million).
All told, the three-game Yankees-Twins set was TBS’ highest-rated Division Series, averaging 6.63 million total viewers.
ESPN made headlines at the start of the Nielsen week, as the Oct. 5 installment of Monday Night Football delivered 21.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast in cable TV history. The sports net established the high-water mark a year ago, when 18.6 million fans tuned in for its coverage of the Sept. 15 Eagles-Cowboys game.
The Packers-Vikings MNF showdown also served up beefy demo numbers, averaging 11.9 million viewers 18-49, 11.8 million adults 25-54 and 5.6 million viewers 18-34. After the game, a 90-minute SportsCenter kept 5.21 million viewers in their seats, of which 3.62 million were members of the 18-49 demo.
On the week, ESPN averaged 4.1 million total viewers, more than half of which (2.13 million) fell into the 18-49 and 25-54 demos. ESPN also took second place among the younger set, averaging 972,000 viewers 18-34.
USA Network slipped to third place across the board, serving up 2.92 million viewers, 1.26 million adults 25-54, 1.14 million 18-49s and 492,000 18-34s. The network drew its largest crowd of the week on Monday night, as WWE Raw averaged 4.71 million viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:07 p.m.
Fox News Channel dropped a rung to fourth place, averaging 2.12 million viewers, while holding onto the No. 10 spot among the core news demo with an average draw of 556,000 adults 25-54.
Closing out the top five was Nick at Nite, which drew 1.63 million viewers in prime.
Last week’s top 10 ad-supported cable nets among the core TV demo were: TBS, averaging 2.46 million viewers 18-49; ESPN (2.13 million); USA (1.14 million); FX (770,000); Syfy (741,000); A&E (632,000); Discovery Channel (603,000); TNT (544,000); Comedy Central (542,000) and Food Network (531,000). In a week dominated by professional sports, FX’ Sons of Anarchy was the lone scripted series to crack the top 20, averaging 2.69 million viewers 18-49 in its Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot. (As SAMCRO tore up the demo on FX, MTV’s reality/scripted mash-up The Hills snuck into the No. 20 spot with 1.87 million viewers 18-49.)
Non-ad-supported Disney Channel dropped to fourth place among all basic-cable nets, averaging 2.79 million viewers. The Mouse continued to dominate the youth demos, drawing 1.2 million kids 6-11, 1.5 million viewers 6-14 and 953,000 ‘tweens 9-14.
Disney Channel secured its largest audience of the week on Friday night, as The Wizards of Waverly Place scared up 4.6 million viewers at 8 p.m.