Ken Burns' 'Country Music' Delivers Strong Ratings for PBS

The eight-part series averaged more viewers than any Burns project for the public broadcaster since 'The Roosevelts' five years ago.
Courtesy of Jared Ames/PBS

The latest Ken Burns opus for PBS brought strong viewership for the public broadcaster.

The eight-part Country Music drew the biggest audience for a Burns project since The Roosevelts: An Intimate History in 2014. Across all platforms, the series averaged 6.8 million viewers per episode, beating the average for the last four Burns films.

"We couldn't be happier with the audience we reached with Country Music," said Burns. "We were fortunate to travel across the country to towns large and small to discuss this film and this history, and in each, we were met with new stories about the power of music. The PBS stations in just about every market helped us engage a public that rightly sees this music as their heritage."

The 6.8 million average is just ahead of the 6.7 million who watched The Vietnam War in 2017, Burns' last multi-part documentary for PBS. It also outdrew 2016's two-part Jackie Robinson and one-off documentaries Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War (2016) and The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science (2018).

Country Music has generated some 4 million video streams to date across all PBS digital platforms. 

"Country Music is about the power of music and stories," said Perry Simon, chief programming executive and general manager for PBS. "It is also about the power of public television to reach people in every corner of this country and to share with them their stories while further engaging them in conversation about this art form. We're thrilled with the reach we had and the fact that Ken's film will continue to entertain and educate audiences for years to come."

PBS will re-air Country Music on Friday nights starting Jan. 3.