NBC’s Olympic challenge begins next month


NBC is duly proud of its perf during the past week nights with boffo numbers harvested from the Beijing summer Games.

The primetime average for the first seven nights is an eye-popping 30.6 million viewers, up 13% from the comparable period in the 2004 Athens summer Games.

In adults 18-49, the Olympic pageantry and competish has delivered an average 10.5 rating, up 12% from the perf at this point in the Athens games. The numbers are up, Beijing vs. Athens, in the elusive younger demos as well: up 10% in adults 18-34 (8.9); and 8% in persons 12-34 (8.0). The biggest bounce has come in the male demos — thank you, Michael Phelps — with viewership posting a lofty 23% spike in men 18-34 (8.6); a 17% gain in men 18-49 (9.9); and a 20% jump in males 12-34 (7.8).

So NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker can be forgiven for frothing a bit in an interview Friday morning with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” about the ratings and the additional $10 million in ad coin that NBC U has booked since the Games began. Zucker has spent the past year talking up NBC Universal’s cable and international portfolio and how it’s transforming the House that Sarnoff Built. But he did a verbal victory dance celebrating the unparalleled reach of broadcast TV in his gushy interview with CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla, Joe Kernan and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

(For really gushy dispatches from Beijing, check out NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman’s reportage for Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS-FM show. “Beijing Ben” sounds like he’s having an “amazing” time in China, but it kinda begs the question of who’s minding the store in Burbank as Silverman’s first slate of shows prep for launch next month?)

Pictured above: “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira flanked by members of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.

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