Top Cable Networks of 2011: Who’s Up, Who’s Down … and Who’s Still No. 1 for the Sixth Year in a Row?

Dec 29, 2011  •  Post A Comment

With the numbers for 2011 just about final, some changes have crept into the annual cable rankings, Deadline.com reports.

No change at No. 1, where USA finds itself for the sixth year in a row. The continued strength of the network’s original series helped it finish on top both in total viewers and in the key demo of adults 18-49, the story reports.

One basic cable channel was new to the top five in total viewers: History was up 21% from 2010 in total viewers and up 18% in 18-49 to finish fifth in both categories. History has been thriving in large part because of hit reality shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.”

A year ago at this time, History was up 35% and had just broken into the top 10 in total viewers.

The rest of this year’s top five in total viewers consisted of Disney Channel at No. 2, ESPN at No. 3 and TNT at No. 4. Dropping out of the top five was Fox News, which was down 7% from a year ago but still way ahead of its cable news competition.

In the 18-49 demo, the rest of the top five was made up of ESPN at No. 2, TNT at No. 3 and TBS at No. 4. History remained in the No. 5 spot in 18-49 after reaching it a year ago.

Other cable nets that posted big gains this year included FX, up 21% from 2010 both in total viewers (where it placed ninth overall) and in the 18-49 demo (where it placed sixth); and MTV, up 21% in total viewers (for 16th place) and up 22% in viewers 18-49 (seventh).

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