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News nets soar with sniper coverage

Wall-to-wall coverage of the Washington, D.C., sniper attacks pushed cable
news viewing in October to its highest levels since last fall.

In October, Fox News Channel notched a 1.5 average in prime time, down 6 percent from
October 2001, when post-Sept. 11 coverage pushed Fox News to record-high marks,
according to Nielsen Media Research.

Cable News Network posted a 1.1 average last month, its highest prime time Nielsens all
year, but it was off from a 1.8 in October 2001.

MSNBC finished October with a 0.5 in prime time, the first time it's pushed above 0.4
this year.

MSNBC's audience, however, dropped 55 percent since last October.

CNN Headline News and CNBC were not phased by the sniper attacks. Ratings for
both channels held to their recent standard of 0.2 in prime time.