Three icon series post double-digit increases in Nielsen ratings

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The first-quarter Nielsen numbers that arrived recently at WGBH were surprising — in a very positive way. Antiques Roadshow, Masterpiece and Nova each posted double-digit increases in audience numbers over this same time last year, according to the Sponsoring Group for Public Television, sales org for the shows. In a statement the group noted that the three shows “were up in desirable demos, significantly outperforming key competitive cable networks.” Roadshow had total audience growth of 18 percent, including increases of 17 percent in adults 35 to 64 and 7 percent in adults 25 to 54. For Masterpiece, total audience grew 31 percent, increased 25 percent among adults 35 to 64 and 20 percent in adults 25 to 54. And for Nova, total audience swelled 17 percent as well as 9 percent among adults 35 to 64. The shows also lured in more viewers compared with leading cable networks. For adults 25 to 54, Roadshow and Nova beat those numbers for A&E, History, Discovery Channel and FOX News. Masterpiece bested primetime cable averages for Discovery Channel, Fox News, Lifetime and Bravo. “Too soon to know if it’s a trend, but we certainly hope so!,” WGBH Marketing Director Roberta Haber told Current. Why the bump? “It’s hard to say,” Haber said. “We’d like to think it’s because viewers are returning to quality programming.”