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CNBC Absorbs Body Blow From CNN, Dobbs

Lou Dobbs helped Cable News Network more than double the ratings for Moneyline
during his return last Monday, but nearly half of the viewers that tuned in to Dobbs didn't come back the next day.

CNBC's Business Center
barely beat Moneyline
during the one hour that the two shows compete head to head — 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.— pulling a 0.5 rating and 366,000 households, compared with a 0.4 rating and 356,000 households for Moneyline.

But CNBC pulled away from Moneyline
on Tuesday, posting a 0.4 rating and 274,000 households during the same timeslot, compared to a 0.2 rating and 196,000 households for Moneyline.

On Wednesday, Business Center
topped Moneyline
by 59 percent, pulling a 0.5 rating and 381,000 households compared to a 0.3 rating and 239,000 households for Moneyline.

Ratings for both Moneyline
and Business Center
were similar to the shows' performance in the first quarter, when Business Center
averaged 327,000 homes compared to 249,000 households for Moneyline. But Moneyline
ratings dropped after anchor Stuart Varney abruptly quit on March 14.

While it is still too early to call this business news battle, CNBC executives last week were gloating about the network's performance during the first week's of Dobbs' return.

"The gap continues to widen. This has got to be disappointing for them," said Pamela Thomas-Graham, CNBC's president and chief operating officer.

"We're the leader in this space. I think that's what the ratings this week really point out very clearly," she added.

CNN executives countered that although CNBC beat Moneyline
in ratings and households, Moneyline
topped Business Center
in the adults 25 to 54 demographic, which they called their target audience. On Wednesday, Moneyline
pulled 173,000 households in the 25 to 54 demographic, topping 151,000 households in the same demo for CNBC.

"It's a good start. That said, this isn't a sprinting race — it's a marathon, and we're looking at the long term. It will take some time for Lou to shape the program to meet his vision and build up the rapport with the audience, so we're really not watching day-to-day [ratings]," said Ken Jautz, CNN Business News general manager.

Both CNN and CNBC launched a marketing blitz leading up to last week's battle. CNN's campaign compared Dobbs to Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin and Thomas Edison. CNBC used NBC's Today Show and an appearance by Business Center
co-anchor Ron Insana on its weekend National Basketball Association coverage to promote the expanded Business Center
and an interview with the world's fifth richest person, Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal.

Thomas-Graham said the cross-promotion effort would continue, especially with Andy Lack, the former head of NBC News, now serving as NBC's president.

CNBC's rating for the full two-hour show, which now includes Business Center Last Call
from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., dropped slightly from the one-hour it competes head-to-head with Moneyline. It averaged a 0.4 rating and 325,000 households for the two-hour slot through Wednesday.