JFK Programming Delivers Strong Viewership for PBS

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Arlington, VA; November 18, 2013 -- Fifty years later, audiences are still fascinated by John F. Kennedy's legendary charisma, drawing a crowd to PBS programs exploring his life and legacy.

During the week of November 11, new PBS history and science programs about John F. Kennedy from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, NOVA and SECRETS OF THE DEAD reached 11.7 million viewers (P2+ cume total audience**) per Nielsen Fast National data.

Across Monday and Tuesday, “JFK,” a two-night, four-hour special from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, which focused on the president's life and achievements, reached 8.6 million viewers (P2+ cume total audience). The documentary averaged a 1.9 household rating and an average audience of 2.7 million viewers.

On Wednesday night, premier science series NOVA performed 40% over the 9 p.m. season average to-date with “Cold Case JFK,” which explored what contemporary forensic techniques can reveal about the assassination, earning a 1.7 household rating and an average audience of 2.6 million viewers.

"JFK: One PM Central Time," a special presentation from SECRETS OF THE DEAD that presented a minute-by-minute account of CBS anchor Walter Cronkite’s news coverage from the moment the president was shot through the announcement of his death, followed NOVA to earn a 1.2 household rating at 10 p.m., averaging an audience of 1.8 million viewers, 21% greater than the 10 p.m. average.

“As Americans continue to honor this historic president, I’m proud of PBS’ significant contribution to the national conversation about his life and legacy,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “Through our week of programming, PBS reached millions of viewers, providing insights for those who remember first-hand and presenting new discoveries for younger generations. From a definitive biography to a new forensic investigation and a re-examination of riveting press coverage, PBS offered a truly expansive view of a monumental leader.”

The telegenic president’s pull crossed onto the second screen, drawing interest from social media users and creating more than 42 million impressions from thousands of users across the programs’ three-night run. Preview videos and iconic imagery were shared widely, indicating his appeal for younger generations, many of whom were born after his death.

PBS will continue to examine Kennedy this week with a two-hour reprise of the FRONTLINE biography “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?” and coverage from PBS NEWSHOUR.

Full-length episodes of all new programs are available for free streaming on the PBS Video Portal (for a limited time) and for purchase on ShopPBS.org. Click the links below to view:

Part 1: Click to view  | Part 2: Click to view

NOVA “Cold Case JFK”: Click to view | Click to buy

SECRETS OF THE DEAD “JFK: One PM Central Time”: Click to view | Click to buy

**The Fast Total Audience Combo represents the number of viewers tuning in for at least 6 minutes to any of the programs included.

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Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703-739-5129, cjohnson@pbs.org
Jennifer Byrne, PBS, 703-739-5487, jrbyrne@pbs.org