Business-News Battle Heats Up

5/11/2001 9:45 AM Eastern

Round No. 1 of the new dueling cable business shows is set for Monday, as Lou
Dobbs returns to Moneyline News Hour on Cable News Network to take on an
expanded Business Center on CNBC.

Although Business Center has built a sizable lead over Moneyline
since Dobbs quit CNN in 1999, CNBC executives aren't taking any chances with
the return of the CNNfn founder. CNBC will expand Business Center to a
two-hour program, running from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., beginning Monday. The move
allows CNBC to kick off its show 30 minutes before the one-hour Moneyline
starts at 6:30 p.m.

CNBC also decided to assign Business Center hosts Ron Insana and Sue
Herera to work solely on Business Center, shuffling other CNBC hosts to
take their slots on other network programs.

CNBC executive vice president Bruno Cohen said the network had been planning
to expand Business Center for some time, but it was waiting for an event
such as Dobbs' return to execute the move. Cohen added that he expects CNN to
follow suit and expand Moneyline.

The revamped Moneyline will contain longer segments and run more
stories involving how politics affects business, Dobbs said during a conference

'The fact is that Moneyline has always focused on business and
economics and politics, with a somewhat deeper perspective than some business
shows,' Dobbs said. 'It's unique to what we do with Moneyline.'

While Dobbs is forecasting a ratings turnaround for Moneyline, there's
much ground to gain to catch CNBC.

In April, Business Center doubled Moneyline's average rating,
pulling a 0.4 Nielsen Media Research rating and 299,000 households, compared
with a 0.2 rating and 184,000 households for Moneyline.

Noting that much of Moneyline's audience migrated to MSNBC and Fox
News Channel after Dobbs' departure, Cohen expects CNN to pick up 'a small
sample' of the viewers it lost.

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