ESPN's MNF Helps Net Score Nov. Cable Ratings Victory


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ESPN's MNF Helps Net Score Nov. Cable Ratings Victory
Anthony Crupi
NOVEMBER 28, 2007 -

Since ponying up just shy of $9 billion for the rights to Monday Night Football two years ago, ESPN has owned the fourth quarter, beating all comers in overall delivery and the core demos. November proved to be no exception, as the sports net rolled to yet another victory, averaging just a smidgen under 3 million viewers in prime while running roughshod on the adults 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34 set.

According to Nielsen Media Research data??a blend of live-plus-seven-day and live-plus-same-day numbers through Nov. 25??ESPN averaged 2.99 million viewers on the month, while racking up 1.56 million adults 18-49, 1.48 million adults 25-54 and 816,000 adults 18-34. The net posted the four largest audience figures with its slate of MNF contests, topping the list with the Oct. 29 Packers-Broncos showdown, which drew a season-high 14 million viewers, while notching 7.26 million adults 18-49, 7.17 million 25-54s and 3.47 million 18-34s.

Corporate sibling Disney Channel took second place among all basic cable nets, averaging 2.78 million viewers in prime, making it the Mouse?s most-watched November on record. Disney put up big demo numbers with its new original series The Wizards of Waverly Place, which was TV?s top-rated show among kids 6-11 (1.6 million) and ?tweens 9-14 (1.4 million), while continuing to pack ?em in with Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.

Disney put up its biggest number of the month with its home-grown 2002 theatrical The Santa Claus 2, which delivered 6.12 million viewers on Nov. 21 between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; moreover, the first movie in the trilogy drew 5.1 million viewers on the 11th.

Among ad-supported cable channels, USA Network finished a strong second with 2.67 million viewers, thanks in large part to its WWE Raw juggernaut, which regularly served up around 5 million viewers during the month. USA?s high-water mark came in hour two of the Nov. 5 installment of Raw, which averaged 5.45 million viewers, who tuned in to watch Stone Cold Steve Austin?s beer-soaked return to the ring. (Thank you, Google.)

All told, USA took second among 18-49s (1.31 million) and 25-54 (1.3 million), while taking the bronze with its delivery of 18-34s (591,000).

Third place in prime went to TBS, which averaged 1.91 million viewers on the month, while posting its best demo number with 1.09 million adults 18-49. The Turner net finished second among 18-34s (633,000) and placed third with the 25-54 crowd (936,000). Of the top 10 cable nets, TBS enjoyed the greatest year-over-year growth, upping its average prime time delivery by 11 percent among total viewers and 17 percent among the 18-49 demo.

TBS? single biggest audience for the month tuned in Nov. 10 for its showing of The Wizard of Oz (4.47 million), although the network?s most surprising achievement had to be its scaring up 2.87 million viewers Nov. 20 with the debut of Frank TV. (If nothing else, this proved that the relentless barrage of promos that TBS aired during this fall?s Major League Baseball playoffs paid off.)

Fourth: TNT (1.87 million, just a hair shy of its sister net). The best demo number TNT chalked up on the month was 908,000; that figure represents its average delivery of adults 25-54 and was good for a fourth-place finish.

Lastly, Nick-at-Nite knocked Fox News Channel out of the top five with an average delivery of 1.48 million viewers.

As far as individual program performance is concerned, Nickelodeon scored big with its Nov. 12 SpongeBob Squarepants stunt, a 90-minute marathon that included a special long-form episode (Atlantis Pantis) that delivered 8.76 million viewers.

On the adult side of the ledger, FX drew a crowd with the Oct. 30 season-five premiere of Nip/Tuck, averaging 3.96 million adults 18-49 and 2.77 million 25-54s.

Meanwhile, the Viacom nets continued to do brisk business with their core demos, as MTV?s The Hills averaged 3.03 million 18-34s on Nov. 12 and 3.02 million the following week, while the net?s Fifth-Horseman-of-the-Apocalypse dating show, A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila, lured 2.15 million members of the 18-34 bunch on Nov. 20.

Finally, the foul-mouthed urchins of Comedy Central?s South Park proved that they still have a loyal fan base, drawing 3.15 million 18-49s on Nov. 7 (the one where Kyle and Stan?s friendship is jeopardized by Guitar Hero) and 2.4 million 18-34s on Halloween (Imaginationland III).