9/11 Newscasts Were Watched

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Many observers wondered if Americans would be off-put from wanting to relive the terrorist tragedies of Sept. 11 on the small screen, many viewers tuned in the cable news services' extensive coverage of the commemorative ceremonies and events.

Fox News Channel ratings topped Cable News Network last Wednesday, garnering a 1.6 household average in primetime, versus a 1.4 for CNN, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

That translated to 1.8 million primetime viewers for Fox News on average, a 135 percent jump from the network's average of 843,000 during summer 2002 (the period from May 27 through Aug. 25).

CNN, with 1.5 million viewers, rose 106 percent over its summer average of 728,000.

Similar trends were afoot in the total-day measurements. Fox News averaged a 1.0 rating and some 1 million viewers on Sept. 11, slightly ahead of CNN's 0.9 rating and 922,000-viewer average. Gauged on a 24-hour basis, Fox News saw its delivery rise 66 percent from its summer average, while CNN improved 83 percent. Both networks were significantly ahead of MSNBC, which drew a 0.4 rating and 316,000 households for the total-day period, and a 0.3 in primetime and 277,000 homes.

CNN Headline News and CNBC also pulled a 0.3 averages in primetime and during the 24-hour period.

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