Beatles Special Solid for CBS But No Match for NBC’s Olympics

NBC rolled Sunday to another easy primetime ratings victory courtesy of the Winter Olympics, but CBS provided stronger-than-usual counter-programming with its Beatles salute special. And AMC’s returning “The Walking Dead” was sure to be a factor, though its numbers weren’t available early Monday.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles” averaged a 2.1 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 13.9 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:30 p.m., peaking in the final half-hour (2.4 in the demo and 14.3 million total viewers) when Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney teamed up to perform a few of the group’s classics. As might be expected, while the special did a ho-hum 5 share in adults 18-49, it did a 7 in adults 25-54 (3.4 rating) and a 23 share in adults 50-plus (13.8 rating).

Also for CBS, “60 Minutes” led off the night (1.2/3 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall), and a special off-night repeat of “The Millers” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) followed the Beatles special.

At NBC, coverage of sports including figure skating, women’s snowboarding and men’s alpine skiing averaged a 6.9/18 in adults 18-49 and 25.4 million viewers overall from 7 to 11 p.m. — on par with the comparable night from Vancouver four years ago.

According to Facebook, during the opening weekend (Feb. 7 – Feb. 9), more than 14 million people globally were engaged in conversation about the Sochi Games on the social media website. The tally of all of the posts, comments, and “likes” related to Olympic chatter on Facebook was over 24.5 million.

Elsewhere, ABC did better with a repeat of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) than it did with the network premiere of theatrical “Toy Story 3” (1.0/2 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) as feature films continue to struggle to land an audience on the broadcast networks. A special off-night repeat of “Castle” aired at 10 (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall).

Fox aired encores of animated comedies “Bob’s Burgers” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall), “The Simpsons” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), “Bob’s Burgers” at its regular time (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” at its regular time (1.4/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 6.9/18; CBS, 1.7/4; ABC and Fox, 1.0/3; Univision and Telemundo, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 25.4 million; CBS, 11.6 million; ABC, 3.7 million; Fox, 2.2 million; Univision, 1.4 million; Telemundo, 0.5/1.

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