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PBS/NBC CONVENTION COLLABORATION ENDS ON HIGH; FORMAT WINS WITH VIEWERS SEEKING IN-DEPTH COVERAGE

 PBS/NBC CONVENTION COLLABORATION ENDS ON HIGH;
 FORMAT WINS WITH VIEWERS SEEKING IN-DEPTH COVERAGE
 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Ratings for the final night of the Republican National Convention gave PBS a 3.7 rating and a 7 share for 8-11:53 p.m. ET -- its highest ratings for the convention -- including its joint coverage with NBC from 8-9 p.m. An average viewing audience of 5.1 million people in 3.4 million households tuned in to PBS during the course of the evening.
 As with the Democratic Convention in July, the week's coverage on PBS provided a unique and increasingly popular source of coverage:
 -- PBS audiences increased over the four nights: Monday had netted a 2.6 rating/5 share, Tuesday 2.8 rating/5 share, and Wednesday 2.8 rating/6 share. Democratic Convention coverage had won steady audience growth as well. (Ratings represent the percentage of viewers among the entire universe of TV households, with each rating point representing 921,000 households; share represents the percentage of viewers among households watching TV at the time.)
 -- Several PBS member stations in major markets such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington beat one or more local network affiliates on at least one night. For example, on Aug. 20, New York station WNET earned a 6.5 rating/11 share, beating the local NBC (5.6/9) and CBS (5.3/9) affiliates, and bested all three local affiliates the previous night.
 -- PBS was again the only non-cable source of complete prime-time coverage, as well as consistent post-prime-time coverage of key events.
 -- PBS again continually outpaced CNN, which is seen in less than 65 percent of all U.S. households compared to 98 percent for PBS. For the Republican Convention CNN had received a 1.4 rating/3 share for Monday, 1.2/2 Tuesday and 2.8/5 Wednesday (no figures currently available for Thursday).
 -- The PBS-NBC partnership was critically acclaimed during both conventions. Praise for the Republican coverage ranges from Ed Siegel of The Boston Globe ("The PBS-NBC coverage is again the best, leaving its prime competitor, CNN, far behind, with others not even in the picture"), to David Bianculli of The New York Post ("The best place to find lengthy analysis in prime time"), to Rod Dreher of The Washington Times ("commentary and analysis from the most astute team on the airwaves").
 The summer's Democratic and Republican events mark an extremely successful entry into convention coverage for PBS, said Jennifer Lawson, PBS executive vice president for national programming and promotion.
 "Viewers came to us for the depth and the breadth of our coverage," Lawson said. "The more they saw, the more they liked."
 Lawson credited the success in part to the ground-breaking collaboration between "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" and "NBC News," citing "the first-rate reporting and thoughtful analysis by the PBS- NBC team, from interviews with the candidates and other key figures at both conventions, to commentary from the team of David Gergen and Mark Shields."
 The PBS-NBC joint coverage was conceived by NBC News President Michael Gartner, who commented, "The arrangement was superb in all ways. Again this week, we provided the most coverage, offered the most cogent analysis, presented the most important interviews, had the most intriguing pictures, and gathered the most viewers."
 For both conventions the joint coverage aired from 8-10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 8-9:30 p.m. Thursday.
 -0- 8/21/92
 /CONTACT: Robb Deigh, 703-739-5392, or Karen Doyne, 703-739-5074, both of PBS/ CO: PBS ST: Virginia IN: SU:


TW -- DC020 -- 2330 08/21/92 18:09 EDT
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Date:Aug 21, 1992
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