Nielsen Ratings Friday August 15: Over 30 million see Michael Phelps Tie Mark Spitz

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August 16th, 2008

Total Viewers (million) 25.46 4.46 4.34 4.08 3.31
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 8.2/26 1.0/3 1.3/4 1.3/4 1.2/4

Viewing of NBC's Summer Olympic Games continues to decrease, while still being dominant.  For the primetime portion of the night, NBC averaged 25.46 million in the preliminary overnight numbers with an 8.2/26 (rating/share) among 18-49 year olds.  Obviously nothing else was close, but hat-tip to WWE Friday Night Smackdown! fans, as the show averaged it's typical four millionish anyway.  Of course CW is letting Smackdown, which is consistently its highest-rated show move to MyNetTV in the fall.

While NBC "only" averaged 25.46 million for the primetime portion, well over 30 million were watching in the final hour when, in an absolutely amazing finish, Michael Phelps won gold by one one hundredth of a second. The dramatic victory  tied Mark Spitz as Phelps become the only other person to win seven gold medals in one Olympic Games.  Phelps' quest for a record-breaking eighth gold medal occurs tonight at just before 11pm on the east coast.

In one of the saddest TV happenings I can ever remember, so far NBC is sticking to its guns and keeping it on tape delay for the west coast.  It's completely unfathomable to me that this historic event won't be shown live all over the United States.  I'm praying to Zeus that NBC changes its mind sometime between now and then.

Swingtown fans, sorry about the numbers.  It appears that not even gushing praise for your show from the New York Times and elsewhere will be able to salvage it.  Don't shoot the messenger.

Full details including half-hourly Olympics breakout:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS Ghost Whisperer (R ) 4.93 1.2/4
NBC Olympics (8p-11p) 25.46 8.2/26
ABC Movie: Legally Blonde (R) 8p-10p 3.92 1.2/4
FOX Preseason NFL (8p-10p) 3.31 1.2/4
CW Friday Night Smackdown! 8p-10p 4.08 1.3/4
9:00 CBS Numb3rs (R) 4.62 1.0/3
10:00 ABC 20/20 5.55 1.5/4
CBS Swingtown 3.46 1.0/3
Half Hourly Olympics Data
8:00 NBC Olympics 19.17 5.5/21
8:30 NBC Olympics 23.00 6.8/24
9:00 NBC Olympics 23.36 7.3/23
9:30 NBC Olympics 23.45 7.7/24
10:00 NBC Olympics 32.18 10.6/31
10:30 NBC Olympics 31.62 10.9/32

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Source Marc Berman/Mediaweek.


Overnights: Local metered-market ratings service of Nielsen Station Index (NSI) in which household ratings and shares are provided to clients the morning following the day or evening of telecast.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

LIVE+SD: The number that watched a program either while it was broadcast OR watched via DVR on the same day [through 3AM the next day] the program was broadcast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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