Monday’s Patriots-Ravens showdown was the most-watched program in the history of cable television, Variety reports, as 17.5 million tuned in to ESPN to watch New England pursue an unbeaten season. The broadcast of the Patriots' down-to-the-wire victory beat out the Disney Channel's August airing of High School Musical 2, which garnered 17.2 million viewers.
“It's the game of the year in the NFL,” one ESPN exec said. “The Patriots are the headline story in the NFL.” MNF accounts for 11 of this year's top 12 most-watched cable shows, and boosted ESPN to the top of the prime-time ratings in November. CBS is hoping for more of the same Sunday afternoon, when New England takes on Pittsburgh.