Only 16 cable programs made it into the top 500 shows in the most popular advertising buying demographic--adults 18-49. The best was ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which came in at 59th place with a 4.7 average rating through 14 telecasts--tied with the likes of a Fox "Back To You" episode.
Still, ESPN's "MNF" did beat out shows such as CBS' "Survivor: Micronesia" and ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," both of which earned a 4.6 rating.
Twelve of cable's top 16 shows were sports programming--including "The 2008 NBA AllStar Game" on TNT at 190th place and ESPN's NBA Playoffs Conference Finals game at 254th place.
MTV scored the best non-sports cable show this season--"The Hills Live Aftershow" last December, which earned a 2.4 rating among 18-49 viewers. USA Network posted a 1.8 average rating for seven episodes of its drama/comedy "Psych." It came in at 417th place.
The best-rated single TV show of the year was no surprise--Fox "Super Bowl XLII," which took in a 37.5 rating, the second-best-rated TV show in history. The best-rated single non-sports program was a special episode of Fox's "House," which ran after the Super Bowl and earned a 13.5 rating.
The "American Idol" Tuesday edition tallied the best ratings for a series. Through 19 episodes, it earned an 11.5 rating.
Hurt by a mid-season writers' strike and general viewer defections, broadcast networks collectively lost around 12% of their 18-49 viewers versus a year ago, while ad-supported cable networks gained single-digit percentage growth.