PBS' NOVA "Japan's Killer Quake" Reached More Viewers Than Any Other NOVA Episode in Five Years

Posted by PBS Publicity on

– Special Reached 7 Million Viewers –

Arlington, VA, April 1, 2011 – The NOVA science series episode, “Japan’s Killer Quake,” was watched by an estimated 7 million viewers[1], based on Nielsen data from 49 metered markets.  This marks the series’ largest audience for an original broadcast in the last five years.

Through first-person accounts from those who survived and from experts and scientists currently on the scene, “Japan’s Killer Quake” gives scientific context to the chain of events responsible for one of the most destructive disasters in recorded history.  The original one-hour documentary that took viewers moment by moment through Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami premiered on Wednesday, March 30th, and is now available on PBS.org/video.

“NOVA’s timely and in-depth investigations allow viewers to explore and understand catastrophic events, such as Japan's earthquake and the Chilean mine rescue by revealing the science behind the headlines,” said John F. Wilson, SVP and Chief Programming Officer.  “Once again, NOVA's producers responded quickly and brilliantly, and PBS' audience responded in kind.”

“These numbers underscore the trust that viewers have in PBS and NOVA’s commitment to providing them with the scientific context for important unfolding events,” added Howard Swartz, Executive Producer, WGBH.

NOVA and Channel 4 in the UK commissioned Pioneer Productions to produce “Japan’s Killer Quake” and “Emergency Mine Rescue.”  Howard Swartz, NOVA Executive Producer, oversaw the project for WGBH/NOVA. The Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 was David Glover.


[1] National persons 2+ projection based on Nielsen NTI NOVA 9PM cumulative audience averages 9/19/10 to 2/23/11, 6 minute qualifier 

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About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local WGBH TV productions that focus on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR® Station for News and Culture; 99.5 All Classical; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.


Stephanie Aaronson PBS 703-739-5074 saaronson@pbs.org

Jeanne Hopkins  WGBH 617-300-4363 Jeanne_hopkins@wgbh.org