NBA Pushes TNT, ESPN Cable Viewing Higher, Fox News Channel Second Best

Strong viewing from NBA basketball playoffs in May boosted TNT to the top of the cable TV networks ranking in prime time -- with 2.7 million average viewers, according to Nielsen live program and same-day time-shifted viewing.

Sharing the NBA playoffs action was ESPN, which also benefited, moving into third place with 2.17 million average prime-time viewers.
The month before, in April, TNT came in at 1.7 million, while ESPN had 1.3 million.

This year, sitting between the two heavily NBA-focused networks was Fox News Channel -- in second place at 2.27 million. MSNBC was fourth place, well behind the top three networks at 1.02 million.

HGTV was next at 957,000, followed by INSP (786,000); TLC (786,000); Hallmark Channel (738,000); History (735,000); and Discovery Channel (696,000).



Last year, the NBA Playoffs was shifted to a mostly June schedule -- a change stemming from the disruption the year before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fox News Channel had been number one the previous month, in April (2.36 million) as well as leading among networks in basic cable for prime time a year ago in May 2021, with 2.17 million.

A year ago, MSNBC was second place at 1.4 million; TNT, 1.24 million and ESPN, 1.22 million.

Total day cable TV network viewing (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) this year in May was dominated by Fox News Channel -- averaging 1.5 million. TNT, ESPN, and MSNBC came in next, although still substantially behind -- with 769,000, 742,000, and 634,000 average viewers, respectively.

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