Game coverage crushes competition

Although its second-week averages continue to lag behind what it registered last week when swimming dominated coverage, NBC’s telecast of the Beijing Summer Olympics crushed the competition in primetime on Tuesday.

The night’s action, which included gold medal finals in gymnastics and track & field, should average roughly an 8.7 rating/25 share in adults 18-49 and 26.3 million viewers overall, based on affiliate-based preliminary nationals from Nielsen. In the metered-market overnight ratings (8-11:45 p.m.), the Olympics averaged a 19.0 household rating/31 share — up 5% on Athens in 2004 (18.1/28) and a big 28% better than Sydney in 2000 (14.9/24).

NBC delivered more than five times the demo average of its closest competitor on Tuesday, and the Peacock figures to beat the combined averages of ABC, CBS and Fox by 12 or 13 shares.

At ABC, a repeat of “Wipeout” was runner-up in demos during the 8 o’clock hour (2.0 rating/6 share in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall). It was followed by a repeat of “Wanna Bet” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and newsmag “Primetime: Medical Mysteries” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall).

CBS opened with a repeat of “NCIS” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and then picked up the silver medal in demos at 9 o’clock with “Big Brother” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), though it was down week to week. A repeat of “Without a Trace” didn’t do much at 10 p.m. (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall).

Fox had a quiet night with repeats of “House” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC (8-11:45 p.m.), 8.7/25; ABC, CBS and Univision, 1.6/4; Fox, 1.1/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 26.3 million; CBS, 6.1 million; ABC, 4.3 million; Univision, 3.8 million; Fox, 3.1 million; CW, 0.8 million.

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