As expected, war coverage dominated the basic-cable ratings last week as Fox
News Channel and Cable News Network ranked first and second among households
while MSNBC tied for fourth.
Moreover, all but a handful of the industry's top 100 shows from March 17
through 23 were war-related.
Fox News averaged a 5.0 household rating, while CNN scored a 3.7, according
to an ABC Cable Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
Nickelodeon was third with a 2.1. Disney Channel and MSNBC were next, each
with a 2.0. Rounding out the top 10: Turner Network Television with a 1.7,
Cartoon Network and Lifetime Television, each with a 1.5; USA Network at a 1.4
average; and Sci Fi Channel and TBS Superstation knotted in the 10th
position, both with a 1.3.
CNN Headline News was tied with five other networks for 14th with
a 0.8 primetime average.
With a 3.3 and a 2.7, respectively, Fox News and CNN also supplanted
perennial total-day leader Nick (a 1.7) in that measurement. MSNBC was next with
a 1.4, while Disney and Cartoon were tied for fifth, each earning a 1.1 over the
Fox News had the week's top four segments and 10 of the top 11, paced by a
7.3 household average from 10 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. March 19, the night of the
first U.S. bombing of Iraq. Fox News also grabbed a 7.2 from 10:19 p.m. to 11
p.m. that night.
President Bush's address to the nation from 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 17 was
third with a 6.5 over that span. Coverage of the attack from 9:46 p.m. to 10
p.m. that evening averaged a 6.4.
CNN's highest-rated segment came March 19 from 10 p.m. to 10:56 p.m. -- a
span that averaged a 6.3.
Save for Fox News' coverage of the presidential address; installments of
The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes and The Fox
Report; CNN's Connie Chung Tonight and Larry King Live before
the bombing began; and a trio of Nick's SpongeBob SquarePants airings,
the rest of basic-cable's top 100 shows of the week emanated from coverage of
events in and related to Iraq.