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News Shows See Ratings Surge as JFK Anniversary Programming Ramps Up THR

With today marking the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, news channels and news programs are already reporting upticks in ratings, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

Among the beneficiaries were the Sunday morning news programs that aired last weekend.

"'CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood,' devoting a special edition to JFK, surged to its largest audience since Feb. 4, 1996." THR reports. "The 6.23 million viewers easily topped the morning's competition and outperformed the typical ratings seen from weekday champs 'Good Morning America' and 'Today.' The surge was less significant in the targeted adults 25-54 demographic, up 15 percent from the same day last year to a 1.6 rating. ('CBS Sunday Morning' last hit a demo score that high as recently as May.)"

CBS's "Face the Nation" also saw a surge. "Up a whopping 52 percent, week to week, the Bob Schieffer broadcast brought in 4.57 million viewers for a 12-year high. (The weekly series last brought in an audience as large during its first broadcast after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2011.) Later that night, a special JFK-centric '48 Hours' beat even college football in the 9 p.m. hour. 'Meet the Press,' which has been suffering from 21-year lows on NBC, did see more modest boosts in its coverage. It grew 9 percent among total viewers to 2.23 million viewers," THR reports.

Remembrances and other programs focused on President John F. Kennedy have been airing all month, with wall-to-wall coverage of the anniversary of the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination airing today and a number of specials on tap over the weekend.

"One of the biggest investments in JFK programming came from PBS," the report notes. "The public broadcaster reports that its specials -- including episodes of 'Nova,' 'Secrets of the Dead' and 'American Experience' -- have grossed 11.7 million viewers ahead of specials from 'Frontline' and 'PBS Newshour.'"

The impact is also being felt on cable. "CNN, which has been seeing more success with documentaries than its regular lineup, topped Sunday night with 'The Assassination of President Kennedy,'" the story reports. "The special averaged 720,000 viewers and 201,000 adults 25-54 in its initial telecast. On the scripted side, 'Killing Kennedy' proved to be a ratings win for Nat Geo. The telepic brought a network record with 3.4 million viewers tuning into its Nov. 10 premiere."

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