The world’s fastest man made history again yesterday as Usain Bolt whipped to an unprecedented third straight Summer Games victory in the men’s 100-meter final at the Rio Olympics. Add to NBC’s primetime package another gymnastics gold for Simone Biles and it was winning television all round – except in the ratings.
On a night that actually saw competition from some of the other nets, NBC’s 7 – 11 PM Rio coverage received a 7.8/26 rating among adults 18-49 and 26.50 million viewers. While up from Saturday’s near lows, Sunday’s fast affiliates are down 13% in the key demo and 11% in total viewers from the early numbers of the first Sunday of the Rio Games on August 7.
As has been typical these Olympics, last night was behind the second Sunday of the London 2012 Games, when Bolt won his second 100m gold medal. Sunday took a 9% decline in total audience from NBC’s August 5, 2012 coverage and a tumble of 26% among the 18-49s. That comparable Sunday four years ago was adjusted down a bit in the ratings to a 10.2/28 but rose in viewers to 31.26 million. This year has not seen such dramatic adjustments but maybe today will be the day. While we wait for those numbers, consider this – in metered market results, Sunday had a 17.4/29 rating that surged to a 21.4/34 from 9:15 to 9:30 PM ET during Bolts’ big win.
Fox was all repeats, but CBS had originals of Big Brother (1.8/6) and BrainDead (0.3/1) on last night. The former was up two-tenths from its August 7 show and the latter was even. ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud (1.1/4), The $100,00 Pyramid (0.9/3) and Match Game (0.8/3) all hit season lows.