Cable Network 2018 Ratings Rankings: Those Not Covering Donald Trump Wrap Trying Year; USA Tops Entertainment Charts

Cable Ratings Rankings 2018

USA Network will close out 2018 celebrating its 13th consecutive year as the most watched ad-supported cable entertainment network (non-news/non-sports), and its second as tops in the genre among 18- to 49-year-olds.

The NBCUniversal network ends the year with an average of 1.48 million viewers, and 585,000 in the demo. But the numbers mark year-to-year drops of 9% and 12%, respectively.  It’s a common refrain among non-news cable networks, as non-linear viewing options, and President Donald Trump, continue to suck air out of the networks’ environment.

A mere 23% of ad-supported entertainment cable nets were spared total viewer losses compared to 2017 – 16% in the demo. (See the Top 30 rankings charts below.)

In contrast, Fox News Channel (2.5M) notched its most watched primetime in its 22-year history, besting all of the entertainment basic cable networks. MSNBC (1.8M) topped them too, is the fastest growing Top 10 cable network, and, for December will mark its first month ever besting both CNN and FNC.

CNN (990K), meanwhile, notched its most-watched midterm-election year ever in primetime, and total day.

Among non-news/non-sports ad-supported cablers, HGTV (1.45M), TBS (1,32M), TNT (1.26M) and History (1.22M) followed USA for this year’s Top 5 list, with TNT alone not suffering year-to-year losses; it was flat.

In the demo, USA is followed by TBS (572K), TNT (561K), MTV (439K) and Discovery (426K). All are down double digits except MTV – up a whopping 15% with much thanks owed to its Jersey Shore reboot – and TNT, which inched up 1% year to year.

Here are the Nielsen charts for the ad-supported non-sports/non-news primetime:

Basic Cable Total Viewers Rankings 2018
Source: Nielsen
Cable Network Demo Rankings 2018
Source: Nielsen

Note: Data through Dec 2 (L+7), Dec 13 (L+3) and Dec 16 (L+SD)

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