Nielsen Media Research has delayed release of its primetime ratings for last week inasmuch as advertising was suspended for most of the period because of news coverage of the terrorist attacks. Ratings are primarily intended to provide advertisers with information about the size and demographics of audiences watching commercial programs.
Meanwhile, Nielsen reported that CNN’s coverage of the terrorist attacks dominated the ratings for basic cable, producing its highest average ratings for any week since the Gulf War. In fact the top 40 cable programs for the week were all CNN programs related to the attack. The all-news cable network was watched by more than twice the number of people who tuned into MSNBC and Fox News combined.