With the nation's attention focused on the terrorist attacks and their
repercussions for the period's last 20 days, Cable News Network led the way in
ratings during primetime and was tied with Nickelodeon in the total-day
measurement during September.
CNN averaged a 2.0 in primetime from Aug. 27 through Sept. 30, according to a
Turner Entertainment Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data, a 233
percent jump from a 0.6 in the corresponding period last year.
The other all-news networks also registered significant growth: Fox News
Channel was tied for eighth with a 1.5, up 200 percent from a 0.5 in the period
spanning Sept. 4 through Oct. 1, 2000. MSNBC recorded a 175 percent leap to a
1.1 from a 0.4 to finish in a tie for 11th, while CNN Headline News improved 150
percent to a 0.5, ending in a tie for 27th overall. CNBC was flat for
the month at that ratings level.
On a 24-hour basis, CNN tied perennial leader Nickelodeon with a 1.3 --
averages that reflected a 333 percent surge and a 7 percent falloff,
respectively. FNC grew 200 percent to a 0.9 to finish sixth, while MSNBC was
ahead 75 percent to a 0.7, landing in a tie for 10th place. Headline,
meanwhile, doubled to a 0.4, ending the month in a tie for 18th
Rounding out the top 10 in primetime were: Lifetime Television, which ranked
second with a 1.9 (flat); TBS Superstation (down 6 percent) and ESPN (off 26
percent) in a third-place dead heat at a 1.7; USA Network (a 6 percent
decrease), Nick (up 7 percent) and Cartoon Network (down 16 percent) were tied
for fifth at 1.6; Turner Network Television (minus 12 percent) in eighth place
with FNC at a 1.5; and A&E Network (down 20 percent) at a 1.2.
During the quarter, Lifetime rode its successful summer performance to claim
the primetime crown with a 2.1 average, a 17 percent gain over the 1.8 it
recorded in the year-earlier period.
According to the Turner analysis, there was a four-way tie for second among
TBS (down 11 percent), USA (off 15 percent), Nick (even) and Cartoon (a 15
percent decrease) at a 1.7 from July 2 through Sept. 30 when measured against
the period spanning June 26 through Oct. 1, 2000.
The news networks aside, there wasn't much good news from the Nielsens for
the rest of the top 10 during the quarter, as seventh-rated ESPN (down 13
percent to a 1.3), eighth-ranked A&E (down 20 percent to a 1.2) and
10th-place Discovery (down 8 percent to a 1.1) all sustained primetime-ratings
By way of contrast, CNN, which was tied for eighth at a 1.2, saw its
primetime ratings double. FNC, knotted in 10th at 1.1, scored a 120
percent in the third quarter.
MSNBC and Headline also notched gains: up 75 percent to a 0.7 and 50 percent
to a 0.3, respectively.