HLN & Casey Anthony: Nielsen's verdict

This May 21, 2009 photo released by CNN, shows host Nancy Grace in Atlanta. (AP Photo/CNN, Mark Hill)

So here, courtesy of HLN corporate parent Turner,  is the only verdict the people who employ Nancy Grace and her fellow rabble-rousers really care about:

During the quarter-hour that included  2:15 p.m. Tuesday, when Casey Anthony was told that she'd been found not guilty of anything but lying to law enforcement in connection with the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, an estimated 5.2 million people were tuned to HLN.

Of those, 1.8 million were members of the 25- to 54-year-old demo that news channels aim for for advertising purposes.

According to Turner, that means:

-- HLN beat Fox News Channel by 79 percent among total viewers (2.9 million) and MSNBC by 466 percent (920,000 viewers) for that quarter-hour. It almost certainly beat big-sister network CNN, too, since Turner reports the cable news network's coverage peaked at 2:30  with 2.3 million viewers, of whom 865,000 were 25-54.

-- The hour between 2 and 3 p.m. Tuesday "marked HLN's best performance in any hour in history" [emphasis Turner's] among people aged 2 and older (Nielsen's technical description for what I usually call "total viewers").

-- Post-verdict, Tuesday's prime-time was HLN's best showing among total viewers since Sept. 11, 2001, when HLN was still called Headline News.

So if you're wondering why, today, HLN is still covering the Casey Anthony case wall to wall, rearguing the trial point by point, wonder no more.

As long as people keep watching, Grace will keep talking.