UPDATE, 3:44 PM: The second Tuesday of the Sochi Winter Olympics saw NBC’s coverage break the prevailing trend – and not in a good way. Whereas in general the network’s tape-delayed primetime package has been behind the virtual live coverage from Vancouver 2010 and basically steady with fellow tape-delayer Torino 2006, last night saw 2014 fall to third place. While not the low of February 15 (9.6/17) or even the second low of Valentine’s Day (11.0/19), last night’s national household rating of 11.2/18 and 18.9 million viewers was not pretty. For one thing, the audience for the 8:30-11 PM show was the second-lowest of the Sochi Games so far after the 17.1 million who watch this past Saturday. Last night’s results look even more bronzed when you compare them to the 12.6/20 rating and 21.3 million viewers of 2010 on the comparable night and the 15.5/23 rating and audience of 25.1 million who watched the second Tuesday of the Torino 2006 games.
So far, Sochi has been hitting by a hair historic Olympics lows among adults 18-49 compared with Torino. Of course with the popular women’s figure skating short program and the appearance by hyped U.S. champion Gracie Gold, those numbers could shoot up again like they did on Monday, when the network showed Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s gold medal ice dancing victory.
PREVIOUS, 9:01 AM: After soaring on Monday, the ratings for NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage came down again on Tuesday as American Idol went live for the first time this season. In early fast nationals, NBC’s primetime broadcast drew a 4.8/14 rating and 18.5 million viewers. While not a low, that’s down 11% and 13%, respectively, from the 5.4/14 rating and 21.2 million viewers the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games drew on the comparable night. It is also down 27% and 21%, respectively, last Tuedsay’s 6.6/18 rating and 23.7 million viewers. Currently the Sochi Games are in a near-tie with the 2006 Torino Games for the lowest adults 18-49 results in any Olympic Games going back to 1992.
In metered-market ratings, last night’s coverage on NBC pulled in a 12.0/19 — down from Monday’s 14.6/22. We’ll update with Olympics final numbers when they come in later today.
Shifting to a Tuesday this week, Idol pulled in a 2.7/8 rating and 9.63 million viewers with its special first live broadcast of Season 13. Kicking off its three-night Rush Week, the 8-PM show dipped 7% from its February show in the ratings and remained steady in viewers compared with last Thursday’s 9.9 million. That’s a far cry from four years ago when Idol thrashed NBC’s Olympics coverage out of Vancouver on the comparable night. On February 23, 2010, Idol had a rating of 8.9/22 with 23.95 million watching. The only other original on last night besides the Olympics and Idol was Killer Women. The ABC series garnered 0.6/2, down 14% from last week’s 0.7/2 to a new low.