Sniper Story Draws Strong Ratings


NEW YORK (AP) - The frightening, ongoing mystery of the Washington-area
sniper is proving a compelling story for cable news networks, which have
attracted their largest audiences of the year.

On Tuesday, Fox News Channel averaged 1.12 million viewers, CNN had 1.06
million and CNN Headline News had 294,000.

For each network, it was the most-watched single day of the year, according
to Nielsen Media Research.

'It's a story that each one of us can relate to,' said Teya Ryan, executive
vice president and general manager of CNN's domestic network.

'We all go out and shop at markets and homeware stores. It has
psychologically gripped the nation. The ratings don't surprise me, because
people certainly want to know.'

Tuesday's viewership essentially doubled CNN's average of 523,000 this

Fox News Channel is averaging 642,000 viewers this year and CNN Headline News
is averaging 215,000.

MSNBC recorded its high for the year on Saturday, when coverage was split
between the sniper and the bombing in Bali.

The network averaged 523,000 viewers that day, nearly doubling its yearly
average of 264,000 viewers.

On Tuesday, MSNBC had 413,000 viewers, Nielsen said.

For all of the networks, Tuesday's audience was bigger than it was for the
first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.