Election Coverage Ups Cable Nets, But ESPN Still No. 1

Monday-Night-Footbal-A2All cable news networks grew strongly in TV viewership in the month of November -- due to major presidential election news coverage. But ESPN still topped all comers.

ESPN averaged 3 million viewers in prime time -- down 16% versus a year ago. ESPN typically registers big fall results from its "Monday Night Football" franchise, thanks to the NFL. USA Network was in second place at 2.6 million, also down 16% year-to-year.

Right behind was Fox News at 2.5 million; the network soared 46% during the big political season. Other cable news channels also witnessed big gains -- MSNBC was up 75% to 1.3 million viewers and CNN was 63% higher at nearly 1.1 million.

Disney Channel came in at third place at 2.4 million; the kids' network, which for the most part doesn't take TV advertising, was down 10% versus November 2011.

Of the top 20 or so networks, some of the bigger gainers for the month include History, which gained 14% to 1.8 million; TNT, up 20% to 1.6 million; and Lifetime, up 19% to 1 million.

Other top networks were a mixed bag: TBS was flat at 1.8 million; AMC slipped 2% to 1.5 million; FX was down 7% to 1.5 million; Discovery grew 9% to 1.433 million; A&E was down 1% to about 1.5 million; and Hallmark was down 7% to 1.3 million.

Networks below these total prime-time viewership levels: Adult Swim slipped 1% to 1.2 million; Syfy was down 12% to 1.1; TLC grew 3% to 1.1 million; HGTV was down 6% to 1 million; and Nick at Nite was down 18% to 1 million.



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