For all of the talk that viewers would turn away on Sept. 11, prime time
viewing levels were stronger, if not routine, on cable.
Fox News Channel notched a 1.6 rating in prime time, followed by Cable News Network with a 1.4, according to Nielsen Media Research.
While NBC aired a commemorative concert, its sister cable network, MSNBC, did not
receive an uptick in viewers. MSNBC posted a 0.3 rating, tied with CNBC and CNN
In total day, Fox News averaged a 1.0 rating, just ahead of CNN's 0.9.
MSNBC averaged a 0.4, followed by a 0.3 for both Headline News and CNBC.
Fewer viewers elected to watch Sept. 11 programming on entertainment
services, although there were numerous offerings. Two prime time plays of
Discovery Channel documentary Rebuilding averaged a 0.8 rating, the
same rating as A&E Network's Anatomy of Sept. 11. A repeat of MTV: Music Television's Sept. 11
Total Request Live special earned a 0.3 (the original afternoon play
recorded a 0.5 rating).
By Sept. 11, viewers might have seen enough documentaries. The History Channel
started airing its documentaries the week before, and several programs collected
ratings above 2.0.
Entertaining distractions on cable attracted larger audiences. Turner Network Television reaired
its Mists of Avalon miniseries to a 1.4 rating, while USA Network attracted a
2.1 rating for movie Black Dog. On ESPN, a New York Yankees-Baltimore
Orioles Major League Baseball matchup earned a 0.8 rating.