Olympics on NBC End Recent Ratings Slide, Outperform Same Night From 2010

ABC's 'Bachelor,' 'Castle' are top series; CW's 'Star-Crossed' OK

Sochi Olympics Curling

Maybe it was the return of Bob Costas or the fact that viewers were gearing up for Jimmy Fallon in his “Tonight Show” bow later in the evening, but NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics on Monday outperformed the comparable night from four years ago — a reversal of a trend that has seen these games consistently lag the more time zone-friendly Vancouver Games.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, coverage highlighted by figure skating, men’s snowboarding and men’s freestyle skiing averaged a 5.6 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 23.5 million viewers overall. This is up 4% in the demo (from a 5.4 rating) and 11% in total viewers (from 21.1 million) from the final Monday from Vancouver in 2010.

NBC again beat its combined ABC-CBS-Fox-CW competition in adults 18-49 (5.6 vs. 5.3) and total viewers (23.5 million vs. 19.2 million). Overall with a week to go, the Sochi Games are down about 10% in viewership from 2010 (22.8 million vs. 25.5 million) and nearly on par with the 2006 event from Torino.

Among entertainment series, ABC fared best with its combo of “The Bachelor” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and “Castle” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall), though both matched their series lows. The dating show delivered the night’s top series score in 18-49, while the mystery drama drew the largest overall audience for any series.

The “Castle” telecast marked the first time during the Sochi Games that ABC has aired an original episode of one of its scripted hits — no doubt a strategy designed to help funnel as many viewers as possible into “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as it began its battle with Fallon.

Fox’s original dramas “Almost Human” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and “The Following” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) matched their scores from last week, though the former could edge up in the nationals.

CBS went with encores of Monday comedies “How I Met Your Mother” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), “2 Broke Girls” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall), “Mike & Molly” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall) and “Mom” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall). And at 10 p.m., an original “Intelligence” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall)

CW opted to premiere a show opposite the Olympics, but “Star-Crossed” was nothing special in its bow at 8 p.m. (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall); the drama was in line with the recent demo performance of “Hart of Dixie” in the time period, and up slightly in total viewers. An original “Beauty and the Beast” followed (0.8/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.6/15; ABC, 2.0/5; Fox, 1.7/4; Univision, 1.3/4; CBS, 1.2/3; Telemundo, 0.6/1; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 23.5 million; ABC, 7.7 million; CBS, 5.3 million; Fox, 5.2 million; Univision, 3.3 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million; CW, 1.0 million.