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Network battle shifts to trading pit

CNN and CNBC will air daily business shows, Street Sweep and Business Center, from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

CNN and CNBC are heading to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as they continue their pitched battle for business viewers.

A few weeks after CNN quietly announced it would produce a daily show from Wall Street's epicenter, CNBC said it would do the same thing _ and it will be first.

CNBC's Business Center will uproot from its New Jersey studio starting Monday for a new desk at the stock exchange. The 6:30 p.m. financial wrap-up show, starting 2{ hours after the exchange shuts down for the day, competes with CNN's higher-rated Moneyline.

"We want to go to the source of what we're reporting on for the final word of the day," said Bill Bolster, CNBC president.

Sometime this fall, CNN will premiere Street Sweep, a new business show broadcast from the stock exchange daily starting at 3:59 p.m., or one minute before the closing bell. Moneyline will continue to be broadcast from its New York studio.

Competition between the two networks has been particularly intense this summer. While CNBC is the leading business network, Moneyline consistently outrates Business Center and is extraordinarily attractive to advertisers.

CNBC expanded Business Center to an hour after popular Moneyline host Lou Dobbs quit and cut into its rival's audience, but CNN has remained in the lead.

The New York Stock Exchange first allowed live TV reports from the trading floor in 1995, requiring networks to use robotic cameras to minimize congestion. Twenty-two television stations are accredited to report there, NYSE spokesman Robert Zito said.

Now the exchange is making space for desks so CNN and CNBC can deliver full shows there, although ongoing live shows will not be allowed during the midst of trading. The networks will pay a nominal production fee, he said.

"The last thing we want to do is tell them to go away," Zito said.

There are reports CNBC is spending more than $1-million to quickly make the Business Center shift. Bolster wouldn't dispute the figure but said he didn't know the exact amount.

CNBC was not necessarily racing to be first on the floor but was watching its competitor, he said. "It had always been our strategic plan," Bolster said. "When Lou Dobbs left, we saw that opportunity and we just accelerated the whole thing."

CNN believes Street Sweep will be able to take better advantage of its location because more people will be at the stock exchange as the bell sounds.

It's better than being there a few hours later "when the janitors are sweeping up," said Steve Korn, vice chairman of the CNN News Group.

"We feel like we're at the head of the pack and leading the race," Korn said. "We're not looking behind us. We're looking ahead."