The week of Jan. 18-24 was the most-watched week in the history of public TV , with daytime programs such as “Barney & Friends” accounting for most of the viewership increase, PBS officials said yesterday.

Nielsen ratings indicate that 58 million households tuned in to PBS that week , a figure that translates to 62.5% of the nation’s households.

In the first four months of the 1992-93 TV season, PBS viewership is up 3% from a year ago, with the typical public TV household tuning in for three hours and eight-minutes per day.

PBS exex attribute the added viewership to its “Children’s Initiative” launched in April 1992 to provide more children’s programming for 2-to-5 -year-olds. PBS said ratings for its kidvid block of programming from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. has jumped 32% in the last year.

Shows that are part of the initiative include the popular “Barney,””Sesame Street,””Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,””Shining Time Station,””Lamb Chop’s Play Along” and “Reading Rainbow.”

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