Marking the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination continues to cough up good numbers for TV networks, though, as with that old Fox one-off reality hit Alien Autopsy, it’s unclear whether viewers flocked to the “JFK” — he being our very first made-by-TV president – or the “assassination.” PBS tastefully went with “John F. Kennedy’s legendary charisma” by way of explanation this morning, while discussing the fact its early JFK-assassination programming has cumed nearly 12 million viewers.
Across Monday and Tuesday last week, JFK — a two-night, four-hour American Experience special that focused on the president’s life and achievements, reached 8.6 million viewers and averaged 2.7 million of them, PBS said.
But a Wednesday night Nova broadcast, Cold Case JFK, in which viewers watched contemporary forensic techniques applied to the 50-year-old murder, performed at a whopping 40% over the 9 PM season-to-date average. That program averaged about 2.6 million viewers.
And, JFK: One PM Central Time — a special presentation from the Secrets Of The Dead franchise, which offered a minute-by-minute account of CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite’s coverage, from the moment JFK was shot through the announcement of his death — followed Nova and earned an average of nearly 2 million viewers. PBS says that crowd is 21% greater than the network’s 10 PM average there. The telegenic president’s pull crossed onto the second screen, drawing interest from social media users and creating more than 42 million impressions from thousands of users across the program’s three-night run. PBS claims this indicates his appeal for younger generations.
Last Thursday, the special The Sixties: The Assassination Of President Kennedy, exec produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Mark Herzog, gave CNN a rare news demo win in the 9-11 PM block, also finishing first among cable news nets among 18-34 year old viewers who weren’t born at the time of Kennedy’s death.