PBS Science Audience: Top 5 Non-NOVA Series & Specials, 2015-17

PBS commissions Science specials and series in addition to the NOVA pipeline.

Top 5 Non-NOVA Science:


  • “Farthest – Voyager In Space” is a standalone special produced by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for PBS, and not a Secrets Of The Dead episode.


  • PBS’s average primetime rating is 1.41.
  • That translates as an audience of 2,116,000 P2+.

Recap: Volume of Originals / Year (Hours / Est)

  • History: 70+
  • Science: 40-50
  • Natural History: 30-40
  • Total: 140-160

Event Strategy

  • PBS combines thematic programs from strands like NOVA with outside commissions to create extended thematic events.

Space Event:

  • Space is a major theme for 2017, extending into January 2018 with Black Hole Apocalypse.
  • The programs:

NOVA: Eclipse Over America
The Farthest: Voyager In Space
NOVA: Death Dive to Saturn
A Year In Space (Encore)
Beyond A Year In Space
NOVA: Black Hole Apocalypse. (Link to Black Hole sizzler.)

Secrets Of The Dead

  • History / Science Mysteries blend
  • Joined in PBS Space signature theme this season
  • Presented by WNET since 2000, inspired by C4 UK series.
  • 5 specials / year
  • Read more here

More in my series on PBS’s audience

“A Moral Muddle”


  • I’m very grateful to the PBS Programming, PBS Business Intelligence and NOVA teams for providing data and context.

Deeper Analysis

Archive Valley