ESPN Tops Total Actions in February; ABC and Fox News Round off The Top 3

Published on Mar 14th, 2017

By Marc Berman

ESPN was the most engaged broadcast outlet in February 2017, according to Shareablee’s Top 10 ranking, with 133 million total actions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sportscenter, with over 75 million total actions, accounted for over one half of the cable net’s total activity.

Comparably, ESPN was 63 million (or 90%) social actions above second place ABC (70 million). ABC News with 33.5 million total actions led the list of total actions on ABC, followed by Good Morning America at just under 11 million. But don’t underestimate the 89th Annual Academy Awards (3 million), which finished fourth among the ABC entries and was a topic of conversation on ABC News and GMA. Also making the top tier was  How To Get Away With Murder, featuring newly-minted Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis (Fences) at #7 overall (with just under 2 million total actions), and Jimmy Kimmel Live, this year’s host, at #6 (with over 2 million total actions).

How To Get Away with Murder ranked second behind Grey’s Anatomy amongst the regularly scheduled ABC series, while Thursday’s third “TGIT” drama occupant, Scandal, was the #12 entry. The network, needless to say, does not need to make any changes on Thursday night next season. This is one example where traditional ratings and social activity both correlate.

At #3 overall, Fox News (68 million total actions) is no surprise with its ongoing coverage of the President’s first 100 days. (By comparison, CNN finished #8 with 32 million total actions.) As it stands, Fox News is poised for great social dominance thanks to influencers such as Sean Hannity, who is the top FNC personality at No. 3 (with 4.2 million total actions). Much of the activity on Facebook for Sean Hannity (81% of the total actions) was postings about the passing of his former on-air partner, Alan Colmes, who died on Feb. 23. The duo hosted Hannity & Colmes from 1996 to 2009.

Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, meanwhile, had the most total actions of any CNN series at 557,086. Next was The Lead with Jake Tapper at 213,755.

Comcast Corporation had two top five dwellers, NBC (#4: 57.3 million) and Telemundo (#5: 37.6 million), which only solidifies the status of both in the current upfront selling season. With Univision ranked at #6, the importance of the Spanish language networks should not be underestimated.

NBC’s Today show at 10.2 million total actions finished first on the network and was close to aforementioned GMA on ABC. Far less significant, both socially and via the traditional Nielsen ratings, was CBS This Morning. This month, the Eye net morning franchise amassed 565,140 total actions.

At #7 in February among the networks was Freeform. Soon-to-conclude Pretty Little Liars, not surprisingly, stood well above anything else on the young female-targeted cable network with 20.3 million total actions (and 88% of that via Instagram). But four other Freeform scripted series – Shadowhunters, The Fosters, Baby Daddy and Switched at Birth – cracked the 1 million total action mark. Shadowhunters was particularly prominent at 7.8 million actions. For all four shows, Instagram for was the main source of social re-posting.

ESPN, ABC and Freeform combined gave The Walt Disney Company three outlets in the Top 10 this week.

CBS finished ninth overall, at 23.4 million total actions across the four social benchmarks. Following 5.5 million total actions for CBS News, the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, telecast on Feb. 12th was second at 3.9M. 

In late night on CBS in February, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (3.2 million) and The Late Late Show with James Corden (1.7 million) ranked third and fourth, respectively, on the network. But The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, at #2 on the network, had a greater total action tally at 7.8 million, which is of particular importance now that Colbert is beating Fallon in total viewers for the first time since 2015.

The Big Bang Theory, which the network is about to renew for two more seasons, led amongst the regularly scheduled series on CBS (with 967,990 total actions). Once Big Bang is confirmed through 2018-19, that will take it to 12 seasons (tying Two and a Half Men and My Three Sons as the second-longest running live action scripted sitcom in the history of television behind the Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet). Upcoming prequel sitcom Sheldon, focusing on a 12-year old Sheldon Cooper, is expected to air out of Big Bang next fall.

Capping off Shareablee’s Top 10 list in February was MTV, with scripted drama Teen Wolf the most engaged regularly scheduled series at 1.7 million total actions. Like Pretty Little Liars, Teen Wolf will be concluding later this season. Ten final episodes, which will certainly resonate socially, are on tap. And like Freeform, MTV is another example of how important social media is to its roster of regularly scheduled series. There is always something to talk about.

Click here to see Shareablee’s February rankings for broadcast, sports networks, and media publishers.


*featured image via

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