Going For Gold: Olympics Ratings Exceeded Expectation

NBC's Beijing Olympics telecast ended with a still-massive rating on Sunday night--although a rating point lower than its average for the 17-day event. NBC averaged a 15.2 household rating/24 share, lower than its 16.2 rating/28 share for the entire event. Overall, the network promised advertisers around a 14.5 rating for its prime-time coverage.

The network also pulled in 27.2 million in total average viewers on the last night.

Among 18-49 viewers, NBC easily led the night, with a 7.8/20. Well down the list were ABC and CBS, tied for second at 1.5/4. Fox was next with a 1.2/3. Univision followed with a 0.8/2 and CW was sixth at 0.3/1.

All non-Olympic shows struggled to maintain interest among viewers--and only one, CBS' "Big Brother," reached above a 2 rating, with a 2.2 at 8 p.m. The next-best was Fox's 1.9 for repeats of "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."

NBC's Olympic coverage grew through the evening, pulling back a little in the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot. NBC's numbers were a 4.1 rating among 18-49 viewers at 7 p.m., a 7.4 rating at 8 p.m., an 8.8 rating at 9 p.m. and a 7.1 rating at 10 p.m.

Overall, the Beijing Olympics' 17-day average prime-time viewership was 27.7 million--13% better than the Athens Olympics in 2004, which had 24.6 million. NBC's average of a 16.2/28 in households was 8% higher than Athens, which had brought in a 15.0/26, and the best ratings since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, which reached a 17.1/33.



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