ESPN, Disney Top Cable Shows of 2009

Wizards of WaverlyFootball is again king on cable -- more so than scripted or unscripted shows.

In 2009, ESPN had the top six TV telecasts and 15 of the top 20 rated TV telecasts under its "Monday Night Football" series. Its best result came from the much-anticipated Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings game in October, when Vikings quarterback Brett Favre faced off against his longtime team, the Packers. The game posted a massive 21.9 million viewers.

The second-best-rated game came about a month later when the New England Patriots played the New Orleans Saints -- a telecast that also topped the 20 million mark, with 21.5 million viewers.

Overall, it was ESPN's best year with the series, which it has run since 2006. From 17 telecasts in 2009, "MNF" averaged a 10.4 household rating and 14,382,000 viewers -- increases of 17% and 20%, respectively.



In terms of individual telecasts in 2009, Disney Channel and TLC also had a lot to talk about.

In the scripted TV category, Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place" movie from an August airing came in at seventh place with 13.5 million viewers. And its "Wizards on Deck with 'Hannah Montana'" tied for 19th place with 10.6 million.

For reality TV, nothing topped the midseason antics of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8." The family reality show, which reveled in tabloid fodder, pulled in 11.2 million for its June finale episode, coming in at 16th place. About a month earlier, in May, another key show grabbed 10.6 million -- tied with "Wizards" for 16th place.

The best-rated Viacom network show came with BET's "BET Awards Show," which cracked the top 20 with 10.9 million viewers for its June telecast, good for 18th place.

Just outside the top 20, the USA Network series finale of "Monk" took a big 10.6 million viewers. This tied an ESPN prime-time college football game and a recently played December NFL game on the NFL Network, when the Dallas Cowboys won over the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints. That also reached 10.6 million viewers.

Further down the list, TNT scored well with a couple of NBA playoff games -- played over three days, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic. The first game on May 26 reached 10.1 million viewers; the next game on May 28 grabbed 10.0 million.

Finally, another kids-targeted network -- Nickelodeon -- did well with some special-event movies. The "iCarly Movie: I Quit iCarly," which aired a few weeks ago, drew 9.9 million viewers.

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