05/25/2006 12:00AM

Preakness TV rating up


The final rating for the May 20 Preakness Stakes broadcast on NBC was a 5.4, a 6 percent increase over the 5.1 rating generated by last year's broadcast.

The increase was in contrast to a decline in the rating for the Kentucky Derby broadcast on NBC two weeks earlier. The Derby rating was a 7.0, down 4 percent from the 2005 broadcast.

Each rating point equals approximately 1.1 million households, so the 2006 Preakness broadcast, which ran from 5 to 6:50 p.m. Eastern, was watched in approximately 5.9 million homes.

Share for the broadcast - the percentage of televisions in use that were tuned to the program- was a 14, up from a 13 share last year.

The Preakness broadcast was initially scheduled to run until 6:30 p.m., but the program was lengthened after Barbaro, the 1-2 favorite, pulled up just after the start of the race with a catastrophic injury to his right hind ankle. NBC stayed with the horse as he was vanned off the track to a stable on the Pimlico backside and provided viewers with updates on the injury.