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 Media Decoder - Behind the Scenes, Between the Lines

August 29, 2010, 8:27 PM

View of a Hurricane, 5 Years On


The television ratings have been modest for many of the special programs pegged to the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans.  For instance, Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC at 9 p.m., and Anderson Cooper, on CNN at 10 p.m., prepared dedicated hours from New Orleans on Thursday. For their efforts, both anchors received their lowest ratings of the week, 610,000 viewers in Ms. Maddow’s case and 448,000 viewers in Mr. Cooper’s.

Regardless, an impressive slate of documentaries and reports filled TV screens throughout the week, coaxing the public to remember the disaster.

Other cable channels, from the Weather Channel to the National Geographic Channel, did linger on the anniversary. BET’s hourlong documentary about the rebuilding of the Ninth Ward, “Heart of the City,” drew 647,000 viewers on Aug. 22, Nielsen said.

Over two nights, Aug. 23 and 24, HBO had the premiere of Spike Lee’s “If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise,” a four-hour follow-up to “When the Levees Broke.”

The film averaged 477,000 viewers on the first night and 456,000 viewers on the second; that does not count the many repeats and on-demand viewings that HBO programs typically benefit from.

For more information, check out..


Heart of the City: Katrina Five Years Later

Host: Jurnee Smollett

Producer/Director: Barnard Jaffier

Associate Producer: Cindy Malika Birch

Editor: Patrick Inhofer


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