Sunday, October 23, 2016
  • Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016
NBC Dominates Nielsens Again With Summer Olympics
Athletes pose for picture with performers during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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The Olympics in their final week were still golden for NBC. Once again, NBC’s nightly primetime averages took the week’s top seven Nielsen slots. And NBC again left rival networks far behind in overall viewership.

But a drop in Olympics viewers compared to the previous week was notable.

So was the drop in TV viewership between the final seven nights of the Rio Olympics compared to four years ago at the London Games.

Consider the erosion from 29.1 million for the London Olympics’ 12th night, compared to 20.7 million for the same night (last Wednesday) in Rio. Or Rio’s 17 million viewers for Sunday’s closing ceremony, compared to 31 million for London.

Since 2012, viewers have gained new options and new screens for enjoying the Rio Olympics. The result: As a TV event, it clearly wasn’t the same as it’s been in past years.

Nor, for whatever reasons, was it even the same sort of TV event it had been the week before. Week-to-week audiences dropped every night, most precipitously Tuesday (down 9.3 million from the previous Tuesday), Thursday (down by 9.5 million), Saturday (down by 10.1 million) and Sunday’s closing ceremony (down 9.8 million from the previous Sunday’s competition).

Even so, NBC retained the weekly ratings crown, sweeping the Top 10 with seven Olympics slots (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Saturday), an Olympics-themed special, “Rio Gold,” which ranked eighth, and “The Voice” and “Superstore.”

Though down from last week’s average of 28.2 million viewers, NBC led again with an average of 19.9 million, while CBS was a distant runner-up with 3.8 million and ABC with 2.9 million. Spanish-language Univision (with 1.6 million) again topped Fox, which (with 1.39 million) was barely ahead of Telemundo (1.36 million). ION Television drew 1.1 million, followed by CW with 800,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, the Olympics-coverage setting again gave NBC a bump in the evening-news contest, which typically finds NBC and ABC neck-and-neck. NBC’s “Nightly News” was decisively on top with 9.8 million viewers, followed by ABC’s “World News Tonight” with 7.8 million. The “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.

Among cable networks in prime time last week, Fox News Channel retained its lead with 2.1 million viewers, followed by USA with 1.4 million.

Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Aug. 15-21. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. Summer Olympic Games (Monday), NBC, 24.2 million.

2. Summer Olympic Games (Tuesday), NBC, 24.1 million.

3. Summer Olympic Games (Thursday), NBC, 21.70 million.

4. Summer Olympic Games (Wednesday), NBC, 20.68 million.

5. Summer Olympic Games (Friday), NBC, 20.1 million.

6. Summer Olympic Games (Sunday Closing Ceremony), NBC, 17.0 million.

7. Summer Olympic Games (Saturday), NBC, 15.4 million.

8. “Rio Gold,” NBC, 11.5 million.

9. “The Voice” (Sunday), NBC, 10.3 million.

10. “Superstore” (Friday), NBC, 9.7 million.

11. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.9 million.

12. “NCIS,” CBS, 6.7 million.

13. “Big Brother” (Sunday), CBS, 6.0 million.

14. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 5.9 million.

15. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 5.7 million.

16. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 5.6 million.

17. “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 5.4 million.

18. “The $100,000 Pyramid,” ABC, 4.8 million.

19. “Bachelor in Paradise” (Monday), ABC, 4.7 million.

20. “Bachelor in Paradise” (Tuesday), ABC, 4.4 million