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'Give the People What They Want, and They'll Turn Out for It!'

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That was the edict of Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, and it still applies to Headline News (it also proved correct at Harry Cohn's funeral, which was a sell out). Thanks to the Jodi Arias trial, Headline News (HLN), which is covering the trial live almost all day long, had one of the best week's in its history. It attracted more viewers last week than either CNN or MSNBC. Fox News of course beat the pants off all the other three new networks.

According to TVByTheNumbers.com via newsbusters.org, HLN averaged 485,000 viewers over the total day, while MSNBC garnered 371,000 and CNN 345,000. In primetime, Headline News averaged 706,000, MSNBC trailed with 644,000 and CNN was seen by only 367,000 -- a disastrous number, just 22,000 more than its total day average.

The demographics skewed the same way. In total day, Headline averaged 172,000 viewers, MSNBC 117,000 and CNN 107,000 among the 25-54 viewers. TVByTheNumbers.com also includes the ratings for 35-64s, and the results were just about the same. Headline News 262,000 viewers, CNN 172,000 and MSNBC 171,000. In primetime, Headline was seen by a whopping 396,000 viewers, MSNBC came in at 310,000 and CNN sank to 164,000, an almost shameful primetime number.

The last time Headline News did this well was when it was concentrating on the Casey Anthony trial, when Nancy Grace was at her best. I suppose the best course for Headline News is to keep on the lookout for other attractive young women who may or may not have murdered their loved ones and then cover their trials from indictment to verdict because, as Harry Cohn suggested, give the viewers what they want and they'll watch it.

Whether advertisers will respond similarly is a question I'll leave to CNN's advertising sales force.