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Cable Ratings: Only ESPN Tops Fox News, CNN in Primetime

Football and politics shine in October

Live events continue to dominate the cable television landscape as ESPN, Fox News Channel and CNN finished first, second and third, respectively, among primetime total viewers for week of October 3-9.

Last week featured the vice presidential debate and second presidential debate, while ESPN aired a handful of prominent NFL and college football games. ESPN topped the news channel by averaging 3.96 million viewers while Fox News averaged 3.54 million and CNN finished third with 2.78 million viewers.

Playoff baseball-heavy TBS and MSNBC join ESPN, Fox News and CNN among the top five, with USA, HGTV and The Weather Channel all averaging over one million primetime viewers.

Cable news networks faired even better among total day viewers, with people flocking to television for updates on Hurricane Matthew and various political drama throughout the week. Fox News won the total day crown, averaging 1.6 million, while CNN finished second with 1.2 million. ESPN, Nickelodeon and MSNBC round out the top five in the category.

The highlight of the week occurred on Sunday night when CNN averaged 11.2 million viewers during the second presidential debate, while Fox News trailed with 9.9 million and MSNBC averaged 5.5 million.

ESPN and the cable news channels have more live events to look forward to, with a presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 19 and weekly editions of “Monday Night Football.’