Katrina Coverage Rules Weekly Ratings


Fox News Channel’s and Cable News Network’s coverage of the devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina vaulted the networks to the top of the basic-cable ratings list last week.

Fox News ranked first with a 3.6 household average in primetime and a 2.5 on a total-programming-day basis Aug. 29-Sept. 4. CNN was second in both measures, averaging a 2.8 and a 1.9, respectively, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

The natural disaster and its far-reaching fallout also pushed MSNBC into the top 10 -- a tie for ninth with a 1.2 in primetime and a 0.8, good for 10th place on a total-programming-day metric

Of the 29 shows that were in or shared a spot in the top 20 for the week, Fox News counted all but four of them.

As for the rest of primetime, Turner Network Television was third with a 2.7, followed by a 1.9 for Disney Channel and a 1.6 apiece for Nick at Nite and Lifetime Television. Rounding out the top 10: Spike TV and Cartoon Network, both with a 1.3; and ESPN and Turner South, which joined MSNBC in registering 1.2 averages.

Perennial total-programming-day leader Nickelodeon dropped to third with a 1.8 in the wake of the disaster coverage, while sister service and channel sharer NAN was fourth with a 1.3 and TNT fifth at a 1.2.