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Continued: CNN and cable sister HLN televising competing shows on George Zimmerman's Fla. murder trial

  • Article by: DAVID BAUDER , AP Television Writer
  • Last update: June 30, 2013 - 9:10 PM

During the last four weeks of the Arias trial, which ended May 8, the "After Dark" recap averaged 616,000 viewers each weeknight, more than double the 244,000 who watched a Grace rerun during the same period in 2012, Nielsen said.

Until a week before the end of the trial, HLN did not know whether its show was temporary. It was decided the same format could be used for other high-profile trials or, in the absence of any, to debate other public issues, Safon said. "After Dark" subject matter has also taken on Lance Armstrong and his use of performance-enhancing drugs and the troubles involving the late Michael Jackson.

Producers are keeping their eyes open for other trials that might trigger a soap opera-like interest among viewers.

"The conclusion that we came to is that there is always stuff happening in the court of public opinion," Safon said.

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