TBS rules primetime cable ratings

MLB playoffs coverage averaged 5.4 mil viewers

Despite a record turnout for "Monday Night Football," baseball ruled the week as TBS' coverage of the MLB playoffs earned cable's top spot in primetime.

For the week ending Oct. 11, TBS enjoyed its best deliveries in its 33-year history, averaging 5.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. The Turner network also put together a record demo performance, averaging 2.5 million adults 25-54, 2.5 million viewers 18-49 and 1.1 million viewers 18-34.

Among total viewers, TBS' average delivery marked a 232% improvement over its prior-week average of 1.63 million.

TBS laid claim to seven of the week's 10 most-watched telecasts, including Game 3 of the Yankees-Twins American League Division Series (6.8 million viewers); Game 1 of that series (6.6 million); and the Tigers-Twins play-in game, which drew 6.5 million.
Other big draws were Game 2 of the Yankees-Twins (6.5 million viewers), Game 2 of the Cardinals-Dodgers National League Division Series (5.2 million), Game 2 of the Red Sox-Angels ALDS (5.1 million) and Game 1 of the Cardinals-Dodgers showdown (5 million).

The three-game Yankees-Twins set was TBS' highest-rated division series, averaging 6.6 million viewers.

ESPN made headlines at the start of the Nielsen week as the Oct. 5 "MNF" game between the Packers and Vikings delivered 21.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast in cable history. The network had established the high-water mark a year ago, when 18.6 million tuned in for its coverage of the Sept. 15 Eagles-Cowboys game.

The Packers-Vikings showdown -- Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre's first game against the team he led for 16 seasons -- also served up beefy demo numbers, averaging 11.9 million viewers 18-49, 11.8 million adults 25-54 and 5.6 million viewers 18-34.
For the week, ESPN averaged 4.1 million total viewers, more than half of which (2.1 million) fell into the 18-49 and 25-54 demos. ESPN also took second place among the younger set, averaging 972,000 viewers 18-34.

USA Network slipped to third place across the board, serving up 2.9 million viewers, 1.3 million adults 25-54, 1.2 million 18-49s and 492,000 18-34s. The network drew its largest crowd of the week on Monday night, as "WWE Raw" averaged 4.7 million viewers from 9-11:07 p.m.

Fox News Channel dropped a rung to fourth place, averaging 2.1 million viewers, while holding onto the No. 10 spot among the core news demo with an average draw of 556,000 adults 25-54.

Rounding out the top five was Nick at Nite, which drew 1.6 million viewers in prime.
In a week dominated by sports, FX's "Sons of Anarchy" was the lone scripted series to crack the top 20, averaging 2.7 million viewers 18-49 in its Tuesday 10 p.m. slot.