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

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.”

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