ESPN: 'Monday Night Football' Top '08 Cable Series

football game on tvESPN released figures showing that its "Monday Night Football" was the highest-rated cable series in 2008--when it drew 13 of the top-15 audiences in household ratings.

The 17 games averaged an 8.9 household rating (11.96 million viewers)--up 3% over 2007. The 2008 season included a Sept. 15 Dallas-Philadelphia game that delivered the largest household rating in cable history.

The network said that during its three seasons of carrying "MNF," it has delivered seven of the 10 largest audiences in household ratings in cable history. It also said that "MNF" made ESPN the most-watched broadcast or cable network on Mondays four times this fall.

ESPN achieved its ratings success although it did not have the opportunity to "flex" games--or swap more attractive match-ups for less appealing ones--as NBC can do on Sunday nights during the latter portion of the season. "MNF" opened Sept. 8 with a double-header that included Minnesota vs. Green Bay and Denver vs. Oakland. The show finished Dec. 22 with Green Bay vs. Chicago.



ESPN also said that this season, its "MNF-linked" content on as "Monday Night Surround"--saw a 51% jump in Monday-into-Tuesday traffic over last season, averaging 68.1 million page views a week.

"MNF," which was on ABC until 2006, enters its 40th season in September.

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