Olympics Derail Almost Everything Else on TV

U.S. gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas at the 2012 London Summer Olympics (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


NEW YORK (AP) — Here’s a TV trivia question: What was the most-watched prime-time program last week that had nothing to do with the Olympics?

The answer: A repeat of the CBS drama “NCIS.”

Olympics coverage thoroughly dominated television last week, as expected. Its ratings were better than NBC expected and turned what was anticipated to be a money-losing event into one that will break even or perhaps finish in the black.

"NCIS" was seen by under 7 million viewers last week. It is usually among the top shows on television, so its placement on last week's list is not unusual.

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About the only network not adversely affected by NBC's Olympics coverage was Univision. Fans stuck with their Spanish-language telenovelas, and five editions of "Que No Podia Amar" finished among Nielsen's top 20 shows last week. In viewers, Univision topped ABC and Fox.

NBC's prime-time viewership average for the week was 32.2 million (18.3 rating, 30 share), all of it Olympics. CBS averaged 4.2 million viewers (2.8, 5), ABC had 2.8 million (1.8, 3), Fox had 2.2 million (1.4, 2), ION Television had 960,000 (0.7, 1) and the CW had 600,000 (0.4, 1).

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Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision had a 3.4 million average (1.8, 3), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 480,000 (0.3, 0), Estrella had 170,000 and Azteca 90,000 (both 0.1, 0).

Brian Williams' "Nightly News," based in London last week, also got an Olympics boost by averaging 10.8 million viewers (7.2, 15). ABC's "World News" was second with 6.9 million (4.6, 9) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.5 million viewers (3.8, 5).

A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of July 30-Aug. 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Summer Olympics (Tuesday), NBC, 38.72 million; Summer Olympics (Thursday), NBC, 36.8 million; Summer Olympics (Monday), NBC, 31.58 million; Summer Olympics (Sunday), NBC, 31.26 million; Summer Olympics (Wednesday), NBC, 30.8 million; Summer Olympics (Friday), NBC, 28.51 million; Summer Olympics (Saturday), NBC, 27.96 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 6.82 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.42 million; “Big Brother 14” (Sunday), CBS, 5.72 million.

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