UPDATE, 1:39 PM: The final numbers for NBC’s Olympics coverage last night are in and it looks to be another close silver when compared against the past two Winter Games. With Today’s Matt Lauer stepping in again for the eye-infected Bob Costas, NBC’s 8-11:03 PM tape-delayed broadcast received a 13.4/21 national household rating, a 7% slip from the 14.5/24 that the almost live 2010 Vancouver Games got on the comparable night. It was a 13% jump from the 11.9/13 that the also tape-delayed Torino 2006 Winter Games drew for its first Thursday. Last night’s coverage also was up in the household rating by 18% over the 11.3/18 that the first bonus day of the Sochi Olympics drew February 6. NBC estimates that a total of 150.9 million Americans have watched the Olympics since their debut last week. That’s not on just NBC proper but across NBC Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network.

Meredith Vieira To Make History Tonight Subbing For Bob Costas
Sochi Olympics’ First Wednesday Ratings Free-Fall From 2010

PREVIOUS, 8:45 PM: It was another night with Matt Lauer in the anchor chair for NBC‘s Olympics primetime coverage and another night of ups and downs in Sochi. One week after the soft launch of the Games, NBC drew a 5.9/17 rating in preliminary fast nationals and 22.89 million viewers.

That’s a 17% fall from the 7.1/19 pulled by the Vancouver 2010 games in the adults 18-49 on the comparable night four years ago. It is also a drop from the 26.6 million who watched back on February 18, 2010. NBC’s ratings result last night slipped just a sliver from the 6.0/16 in final numbers that the network drew  last week when the Games started and actually marked a slight rise from the 5.8/16 they received in early 469185559__140214165241-275x176fast nationals. As for the actual competition, one of the ups of the night was the remarkable U.S. podium sweep in the debut of men’s ski slopestyle. Hockey, ice sledding, more skiing and skating featuring American Jeremy Abbott’s rise to finish his routine after a hard fall filled NBC’s prime package last night. NBC won the night but the second spot was split between Fox, which got a 2.0/6 rating, and CBS, which had 7.02 million viewers.

Looking back at the last Winter Olympics on the comparable night, NBC got a 14.5/24 national household rating on February 18, 2010 out of its almost live Vancouver coverage. That’s was 22% higher than the 11.9/19 that the network pulled on the similar night from Torino 2006. That first Thursday of the 2006 Winter Games received a total viewership of 19.4 million.  NBC’s prime coverage last night garnered a 14.4/22 overnight metered-markets rating. That’s up from the 11.8/18 it got on February 6 when the Olympics actually started. We’ll update with final numbers from last night’s Sochi Olympics coverage when the results come in.

While CBS was all repeats last night, the other nets put up some originals against the Olympics. ABC’s original contribution of the night was The Taste. The beer fuelled two-hour episode was served a 0.9/2 rating. That’s a 10% drop from last week to tie a series low for The Taste. On Fox, it was a full meal of new shows with American Idol (2.9/9) and Rake (1.1/13) and, despite the full throttle Olympics competition, both held steady with last week. The former dipped just 3% from its February 6 show, while the freshman latter was even with last week