Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR Seen by More Than 33.8 Million Viewers

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Premiere Episode Was Viewed by 11.9 Million Unique TV Viewers; Highest-Streamed Series Premiere in PBS History


ARLINGTON, VA; November 14, 2017 – PBS today announced the final national ratings for Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR, the epic documentary film that premiered on Sunday, September 17, on PBS stations nationwide. The first five episodes aired nightly from Sunday, September 17, through Thursday, September 21, and the final five episodes aired nightly from Sunday, September 24, through Thursday, September 28. 

According to Nielsen Live +7 data, across the 10 nights of the series, THE VIETNAM WAR reached more than 33.8 million viewers and had an average audience of 6.7 million P2+ (an average household rating of 4.4). This makes THE VIETNAM WAR the second-highest-rated Burns/Novick film of the past two decades, following THE WAR (2007). In addition, THE VIETNAM WAR’s first six episodes brought a close to the Nielsen 2016-2017 broadcast year, and were the highest-rated PBS telecasts of the season. The final four episodes of the series will be included in the 2017-2018 Nielsen broadcast year.

The premiere episode of THE VIETNAM WAR was PBS’ best-performing telecast since the series finale of DOWNTON ABBEY ON MASTERPIECE in March 2016. The episode earned a national household rating of 6.0, more than 300 percent greater than PBS’ average primetime rating. A total of 11.9 million unique viewers watched the premiere in all (Nielsen, National Live + 7).

THE VIETNAM WAR is currently re-airing on Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET through November 28. The final episodes are available to stream for free on pbs.org and all station-branded platforms for two weeks after air. In addition, viewers with access to Passport, a PBS station benefit for donors, are able to stream the entire series now through December 31. To date, all 10 episodes of the series have been streamed more than 8.4 million times, making THE VIETNAM WAR the most-streamed Ken Burns series ever, delivering more than four times the streams of THE ROOSEVELTS. In a first, in addition to a Spanish-language version of the series, PBS also offered a Vietnamese-subtitled version of the series for streaming. In another first, the series also streamed in Vietnam, generating more than 620,000 streams to date. Further, THE VIETNAM WAR has been a best-selling title on Amazon, iTunes and ShopPBS.org.

“Every day, Lynn and I hear from people on all sides of the Vietnam conflict about how meaningful this film was for them,” said Ken Burns. “We are honored, of course, to have an opportunity to share these stories and are grateful for the response the film has received. We look forward to sharing the film with schools around the country and hope that the Vietnam War becomes an integral part of educational materials for generations to come.”

"Ken and I are humbled by the extraordinary response to this film in America and in Vietnam,” said Lynn Novick. “We will forever be grateful to the courageous men and women who shared their stories of the war with us, the veterans whose service and sacrifice we honored this week, and the dedicated anti-war activists who fought to end it.”

“Over the course of two weeks, millions of people watched one of the most important films of our time,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “Series like these truly exemplify the best of public media and our commitment, along with our nearly 350 member stations, to telling stories that deserve to be told. It is our hope that films like THE VIETNAM WAR not only encourage important conversations in communities across the country, and even around the world, but also challenge viewers to develop a new perspective.”

THE VIETNAM WAR is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD from PBS Distribution at shopPBS.org. The DVD and Blu-ray extras include a 45-minute preview program, two special segments on the contemporary lives of two of the program’s participants, and deleted scenes. The series is also available for digital download.

Funding for THE VIETNAM WAR is provided by Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H. Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society: Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, Diane & Hal Brierley, Amy & David Abrams, John & Catherine Debs, Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, The Montrone Family, Lynda & Stewart Resnick, The Golkin Family Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, The Roger & Rosemary Enrico Foundation, Richard S. & Donna L. Strong Foundation, Bonnie & Tom McCloskey, Barbara K. & Cyrus B. Sweet III, The Lavender Butterfly Fund.

THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.


About PBS

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About WETA

WETA Washington, DC, is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. WETA productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Latino Americans and The Italian Americans; documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including The Civil War, Baseball, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History and The Vietnam War; and productions by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Season Three), Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise and Africa’s Great Civilizations. WETA presentations include Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, Pati’s Mexican Table, Sara’s Weeknight Meals, Globe Trekker and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. The WETA studios and administrative offices are located in Arlington, Virginia. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org. On social media, visit http://www.facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.



Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703-739-5129, cjohnson@pbs.org

Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703-739-5147, anfrederick@pbs.org

Brian Moriarty, DKC Public Relations, 212-981-5252, brian_moriarty@dkcnews.com