Olympic Women’s Short Program Figure Skating Tops Prime-Time Viewership

NBC Beijing Olympics programming accounted for 10 of last week’s top 11 prime-time programs, with the Feb. 15 broadcast featuring the women’s figure skating short program finishing first, averaging 8.711 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen today.

  “60 Minutes” was the most-watched non-Olympics program between Feb. 14 and Sunday and the only one to average more than 6 million viewers, averaging 6.975 million viewers, fifth for the week. It was the 11th time in the 22-week-old 2021-22 television season it was the most-watched non-sports program. NBC averaged 7.23 million viewers for its nearly all-Olympics prime- time schedule, 49% less than the 14.19 million average for the final week of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. NBC’s lone non-Olympics program for the week was the half-hour premiere of “America’s Got Talent: Extreme” that averaged 3.111 million viewers following Sunday’s closing ceremony, 38th for the week.

NBC averaged a record-low 10.7 million viewers for its 18 nights of Winter Olympics coverage, 40% less than the previous record low of 17.8 million for the Pyeongchang Games. What NBC has dubbed the Total Audience Delivery — which includes cable and digital viewership — was 11.4 million, 42.4% less than the 19.8 million figure for the Pyeongchang Games. Viewership for nearly all broadcast and cable programming is down compared to the past, mainly because of increased viewing of streaming programming, including programming originally airing on traditional television.

 CBS was second, averaging 3 million viewers, followed by ABC, which averaged 2.65 million. Fox averaged 1.99 million for its 15 hours, 12 minutes of prime-time programming. The CW averaged 330,000 for its 14 hours of programming. NBC, CBS and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming. Fox’s most-watched programs were its 15-minute Daytona 500 post-race show which averaged 5.423 million viewers, 14th for the week, and the procedural drama, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” 15th for the week averaging 4.952 million viewers.

 The four episodes of “Jeopardy! National College Championship” were ABC’s four most-watched programs, topped by the Thursday episode which was 16th for the week, averaging 4.817 million viewers. A rerun of the magic competition series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” was The CW’s most-watched program, averaging 576,000 viewers, 179th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available. The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted of 11 NBC Olympics programs; “60 Minutes,” “Price is Right at Night” and a rerun of “Young Sheldon” on CBS; Fox’s 15-minute Daytona 500 post-race show and “9-1-1: Lone Star”; three episodes of “Jeopardy! National College Championship” on ABC and coverage of the NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS.

  The audience was 5.7% larger than the combined record-low audience among available figures of 5.943 million for the 2021 All-Star Game. Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the fifth consecutive week following four consecutive second-place finishes behind ESPN, averaging 2.423 million viewers. TNT was second, averaging 2.013 million. MSNBC was third for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 1.047 million. CNN was 16th, two spots higher than the previous week, averaging 73,000 viewers, 20.4% more than the 476,000 viewers it averaged the previous week.

  CNN also trailed HGTV (1.08 million), Hallmark Channel (968,000), USA Network (950,000), History (921,000),  TLC (889,000), ESPN (829,000), Food Network (699,000), Discovery (683,000), TBS (656,000), Paramount Network (637,000), Lifetime (593,000) and Investigation Discovery (581,000). The 20 prime-time cable programs consisted of the NBA All-Star Game, NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the two-hour, 21-minute “NBA Tip-Off” pregame show on TNT; 14 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts of both “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; the Hallmark Channel movie “The Wedding Veil Legacy”; History’s long- running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the TLC series about couples who have built a relationship online but not met in person, “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.”

  The most-watched prime-time Spanish-language program for the fourth time in five weeks was an episode of the Univision telenovela “Vencer El Pasado.” The Tuesday episode averaged 2.061 million viewers, 69th overall. Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 116th consecutive week and 118th time in 119 weeks, averaging 1.46 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.01 million viewers, followed by UniMas (530,000), Estrella TV (110,000) and Azteca America (50,000). ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 115th time in 116 weeks and 167th time in 169 weeks, averaging 8.728 million viewers.

  “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.995 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,”

which averaged 5.284 million viewers. The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s Tuesday, Thursday, Monday and Friday Winter Olympics coverage; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; and NBC’s Wednesday and Saturday Winter Olympics coverage, the first half-hour of its Thursday Winter Olympics coverage, the first hour of its Friday Winter Olympics coverage and coverage of Sunday’s closing ceremony.

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