UPDATE, 1:41 PM: It’s a Silver for London. The 2012 London Olympics are now the second most watched event in American TV history. The London Games have had a total audience of 210.5 million over the first 14 days. That audience across NBCUniversal’s networks of NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo and Bravo beats the 1996 Atlanta Olympics’ 209 million viewership but is still behind the 215 million who saw the 2008 Beijing Games. It was a combo of Silver and Gold for NBC’s primetime coverage of Thursday’s XXX Summer Games (13.6/23). In the end London just couldn’t beat Beijing in the ratings but they did beat 2008 in total viewers. Thursday’s primetime final numbers have London 1% down in the ratings from the comparable second Thursday of the 2008 Summer Olympics from China’s capitol. However, in terms of total viewers, NBC pulled in 22.9 million viewers overall last night, just a little bit more than the 22.4 million who watched the comparable night from 2008. And, as any Olympian will tell you, that little bit is the difference between Gold and Silver. Over on NBC Sports Network, the American Women’s team soccer Gold medal winning victory over Japan hit a viewership high for the channel. The game pulled in 4.35 million viewers, surpassing the July 2, 2010 Stanley Cup Final between the Philadelphia Flyer and the Chicago Blackhawks. That game had held the NBC Sports Network record with 3.60 million viewers. The Gold-winning soccer game did well online too, drawing 1.467 streams on NBCOlympics.com to become the most streamed event for this or any past Olympics. Over the 14 nights of the London Olympics, NBC has had an average of 31.9 million viewers overall and a primetime rating of 18.0/30. That’s the best for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the Montreal Games of 1976.
PREVIOUS, 8:51 AM: With 90 medals, Thursday saw the United States take a commanding lead at the XXX Summer Games (6.8/20) but in fast nationals, it also saw NBC’s primetime coverage take a fall. Fast nationals had the network’s 8 – 11 PM broadcast down 39% from last Thursday. Despite Usain Bolt’s historic 200 meters victory, plus the American Women’s Team won soccer Gold, Ashton Eaton’s Gold in decathlon and Claressa Shields winning the first women’s boxing Gold for the US in Olympic history, Thursday’s coverage of Day 13 of the London Games was also down 6% from the second Thursday of the 2008 Beijing Games. Still NBC did win the night among Adults 18-49 and in total viewers of 22.40 million.
There were other things on TV besides the Olympics but because of local market NFL pre-emptions, Fox, ABC and CBS fast national ratings are all inflated. Having said that most of the night was repeats but there were some other new things on TV. CBS had a new episode of Big Brother (2.1/6) at 9 PM. The reality show was up 5% over last week’s broadcast. After a repeat of Wipeout (1.6/5) at 8 PM, ABC had a new Wipeout (1.7/5) at 9 PM. That new airing scored big, up 21% from last week’s series low. Following was a new Rookie Blue (1.5/4), which was flat with the last airing two weeks ago. Earlier in the night CBS ran a repeat of The Big Bang Theory (1.8/6). That repeat was, with 6.90 million total viewers, the second most watched show on TV last night after the Olympics. CBS also ran a repeat of Two and a Half Men (1.7/5) and, after Big Brother, it aired an encore Person of Interest (1.1/3). Fox ran two episodes of Raising Hope, one at 8 PM (1.1/4) and one at 8:30 PM (1.1/3), followed by a Glee (1.0/3) repeat.