TLC, ESPN, Hallmark Are Top Improving Cable Networks

July’s cable TV entertainment/sports network ratings witnessed TLC, ESPN and Hallmark posting gains among the top 10 distributed cable TV networks.

In prime time, HGTV was down 14% to a Nielsen-measured 1.2 million viewers (ranked third overall after Fox News Channel and MSNBC); TLC was next, up a big 23% to 1.09 million; USA Network, down 20% to 1.07 million; Hallmark Channel rose 1% to 1.03 million; History lost 13% to 956,000; TBS slipped 7% 931,000; and Investigation Discovery was down 9% to 920,000.

TLC's big gains came from strong viewing of its “90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?” series; recently posting a big 2.7 million viewers for the Sunday-night reality TV show. Hallmark continues to benefit from its “Good Witch” series, getting 2.1 million viewers for the week ending July 28.

Breaking into the top 10 in prime time is ESPN  -- up 18% to 874,000.

The sports network pulled big viewership from its Wimbledon coverage, its highest ever, up 30% from a year ago. Additionally, ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” viewing gained 35% -- including a high-rated New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox game. ESPN also touted better numbers from its NBA Summer League and Formula One programming.

Additionally, ESPN viewers rose in total day ratings, up 18% to 518,000.

Looking at total day viewing for the month: Fox News Channel, 1.4 million; MSNBC, 852,000; Nickelodeon, 758,000; HGTV, 689,000; and Investigation Discovery, 673,000.

Completing the top 10: Hallmark Channel, 587,000; CNN, 557,000; ESPN, 512,000; History, 508,000; and Food Network, 505,000.

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