PBS finds public with Tonys portion

Pubcaster's ratings up 43%, Gotham's WNET sees double from kudocast

Tony’s tumble in the ratings Sunday night on CBS certainly didn’t extend to the one-hour PBS portion, which showed strong gains vs. last year.

According to overnight Nielsen data from the 41 PBS stations that carried the hour prior to the Eye net’s telecast of the Tony Awards, ratings were up by 43% vs. last year (2.0 vs. 1.4). And in Gotham, WNET saw its ratings double (5.4 vs. 2.7).

These numbers are in stark contrast to the national numbers for CBS’ coverage from 9-11. Kudocast slipped to an all-time ratings low in homes (6.2/10), dropping 11% from last year (7.0/12).

Heightened awareness

A spokeswoman for WNET Channel 13 in New York, which produced the 8 p.m. hour for PBS, attributed much of the gain to the increased awareness this year by viewers that the early hour — in which the first 10 awards are presented — was part of the bigger show.

Another likely factor was that for the first time in the four years that PBS has carried some of the Tonycast, the host of the CBS portion (Rosie O’Donnell) introduced the PBS portion. But then again, O’Donnell disappeared after that and the ratings rose throughout the hour.

Hard work & cooperation

Jeff Folmsbee, exec producer of the PBS hour, said the ratings increase was a culmination of hard work by the production teams involved in both telecasts, especially Walter Miller, who along with O’Donnell exec produced the CBS telecast.

“Miller worked very hard to make it a three-hour event, and clearly people were ready to tune in early this year,” Folmsbee said. “This really was one big show on two networks.”

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