Tuesday’s Olympics most-watched of 2012 games

NBC draws 38.7 million in primetime, obliterates rivals

UPDATE: Final national numbers released by Nielsen this afternoon show Tuesday’s primetime Olympics averaging a 12.8 rating/35 share in adults 18-49, the best for any night of the London Games, and 38.72 million viewers overall, second only to the Opening Ceremonies.

The 38.7 million viewers is the most for the first Tuesday of any non-U.S. Summer Olympics in the history of televised Games (since 1960). And through the first five nights, this year’s Olympics are averaging 35.6 million viewers — 4.3 million more than Beijing and the most for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976.

NBC’s coverage of a great night for Team USA — highlighted by Michael Phelps’ record-setting performance and a gold-medal finish for the women’s gymnastics team — drew gaudy numbers Tuesday night.

Nielsen estimates that from 8 to 11 p.m., NBC averaged a 12.2 rating/33 share in adults 18-49 and 37.5 million viewers overall, with the demo score matching that of the Opening Ceremonies on Friday and the total viewer count the best since that night. The Olympics remain a broad draw, scoring well in demos ranging from teens (7.0/25) and men 18-34 (8.7/30) to its strongest key demo category, women 25-54 (15.6/35).

Tuesday’s performance was on par with the comparable night in Beijing four years ago as NBC remains ahead of its ratings pace through five of 17 nights from London.

Elsewhere, Univision’s original novelas ran second among young adults, led by the strong ”La Que No Podia Amar” (The One Who Couldn’t Love), which averaged a 1.7/4 in 18-49 and 4.3 million viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour.

There was very little happening at other broadcasters Tuesday, as most nets aired repeats.

CBS went with encores of ”NCIS” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall), ”NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.0/2 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) and ”Person of Interest” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) and Fox aired repeats of ”MasterChef” at both 8 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) and 9 (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall).

ABC’s lone original, ”NY Med” at 10 p.m., settled for a 0.6/1 in 18-49 and 2.8 million viewers overall. Earlier, the net aired repeats of ”The Middle” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), ”Last Man Standing” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) and ”Wipeout” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall).

CW’s original airing of ”The L.A. Complex” at 9 p.m. maintained its 0.2 rating in both 18-49 and 18-34 while bulking up some in total viewers (to 550,000). At 8, an encore of ”Hart of Dixie” also did a 0.2 demo rating and drew about 800,000 viewers overall.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 12.2/33; Univision, 1.4/4; CBS, 1.0/3; Fox, 0.9/3; ABC, 0.6/2; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 37.5 million; CBS, 5.4 million; Univision, 3.5 million; ABC, 2.6 million; Fox, 2.3 million; CW, 0.7 million.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    'Other People's Houses' Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Works at Fox

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking to reunite with “Ringer” creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder on a dramedy co-produced by Fox Entertainment and UTV. Fox is developing “Other People’s Houses,” Variety has learned, and has given the project a script commitment. Charmelo and Snyder will write and executive produce, while Neil Meron, Sarah Michelle Gellar [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler'Woke Up This Morning: The

    ‘Sopranos’ Cast Members to Present at VMAs in New Jersey

    The VMAs will reunite “Sopranos” castmates for the big awards show happening Monday night in Newark, New Jersey — right next door to America’s favorite crime family.  Drea De Matteo (who played the mobster girlfriend-turned F.B.I. informant Adriana La Cerva), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Tony Soprano’s precocious daughter Meadow Soprano) and Vincent Pastore (who played [...]

  • The L Word

    'The L Word: Generation Q' Teaser Unites Original Cast, New Characters

    Showtime has released the first look at the next generation of “The L Word” and its new cast including Rosanny Zayas, Jacqueline Toboni, Sepideh Moafi, Arienne Mandi, and Micah Lee. Along with some of the original cast, including Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig, the series sequel picks up where its creator Ilene Chaiken [...]

  • ACCESS HOLLYWOOD -- Season: 24 --

    'Access Hollywood' Franchise Adds New Half-Hour Show

    After a spate of recent layoffs and the departure of host Natalie Morales, “Access Hollywood” is extending its brand with a new half-hour series. “All Access,” premiering Sept. 9, will take an in-depth look into the national headlines and look to uncover the real-life drama occurring in everyday places, exploring a blend of true crime [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content