HBO’s live concert telecast featuring Garth Brooks performing in New York’s Central Park — an event that drew a record 250,000 attendees — attracted the Time Warner pay cabler’s largest audience for an original program on the network this year and topped the four major broadcast networks in HBO homes.
“Garth Live From Central Park” pulled in a 15.2 rating and 25 share in the HBO universe, or one in four HBO subs who were watching TV. It eclipsed the audience for its two closest pursuers combined, besting NBC (9.4/15), CBS and Fox (each with 5.1/8) and ABC (4.2/7).
HBO is also calling the nearly two-hour telecast the most-watched special on cable TV thus far in 1997.
When the Brooks concert is rerun on Sept. 13, HBO plans to open up its signal and authorize basic cable and satellite providers to carry the show at the request of Brooks himself. Brooks was reportedly disappointed that his fans who didn’t subscribe to HBO were unable to watch the concert.