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Below Average 20.54 Million Viewers for 2016 Rio Olympics on NBC on Second Wednesday

A Mere 548,000 Viewers Tune in For the debut of 'The Last Days' on The CW

What follows are the fast affiliate results for Wednesday, August 17 broken out by network and by each half-hour:

-Total Viewers:

NBC: 20.54 million, CBS: 3.73, ABC: 2.00, Fox: 1.94, CW: 1.02

-Adults 18-49:
NBC: 5.8 rating/21 share, CBS: 0.9/ 3, Fox: 0.6/ 2, ABC: 0.5/ 2, CW: 0.2/ 1


8:00 p.m.
ABC – The Real O’Neals (R)
Viewers: 2.47 million (#3), A18-49: 0.5/ 2 (#4)

CBS – Big Brother
Viewers: 6.15 million (#2), A18-49: 1.8/ 8 (#2)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 15.49 million (#1), A18-49: 4.0/17 (#1)

Fox – MasterChef (R)
Viewers: 2.14 million (#4), A18-49: 0.7/ 3 (#3)

CW – Penn & Teller: Fool Us
Viewers: 1.47 million (#5), A18-49: 0.3/ 1 (#5)


8:30 p.m.

ABC – The Real O’Neals (R)
Viewers: 1.98 million (#4), A18-49: 0.5/ 2 (#4)

CBS – Big Brother
Viewers: 5.55 million (#2), A18-49: 1.7/ 6 (#2)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 18.98 million (#1), A18-49: 5.2/20 (#1)

Fox – MasterChef (R)
Viewers: 2.01 million (#3), A18-49: 0.7/ 3 (#3)

CW – Penn & Teller: Fool Us
Viewers: 1.50 million (#5), A18-49: 0.3/ 1 (#5)


9:00 p.m.

ABC – The Real O’Neals (R)
Viewers: 1.89 million (#3), A18-49: 0.5/ 2 (#4)

CBS – Criminal Minds (R)
Viewers: 2.95 million (#2), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2t)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 23.07 million (#1), A18-49: 6.5/23 (#1)

Fox – MasterChef (R)
Viewers: 1.74 million (#4), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2t)

CW – My Last Days (series premiere)
Viewers: 613,000 (#5), A18-49: 0.2/ 1 (#5)


9:30 p.m.

ABC – The Real O’Neals (R)
Viewers: 1.74 million (#4), A18-49: 0.5/ 2 (#4)

CBS – Criminal Minds (R)
Viewers: 2.98 million (#2), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2t)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 24.35 million (#1), A18-49: 6.9/24 (#1)

Fox – MasterChef (R)
Viewers: 1.87 million (#3), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2t)

CW – My Last Days (series premiere)
Viewers: 483,000 (#5), A18-49: 0.2/ 1 (#5)


10:00 p.m.

ABC – Modern Family (R)
Viewers: 2.01 million (#3), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2)

CBS – American Gothic
Viewers: 2.44 million (#2), A18-49: 0.5/ 3 (#3)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 22.28 million (#1), A18-49: 6.6/23 (#1)


10:30 p.m.

ABC – black-ish (R)
Viewers: 1.94 million (#3), A18-49: 0.6/ 2 (#2)

CBS – American Gothic
Viewers: 2.30 million (#2), A18-49: 0.4/ 1 (#3)

NBC – Rio Olympics 2016
Viewers: 19.05 million (#1), A18-49: 5.6/21 (#1)

Source: Nielsen Media Research


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  1. No surprise here everybody should know at this point once you get past that second or final Tuesday of the Olympics the ratings start getting close to or slip below 20 million viewers although they stayed above 20 million on Wednesday. Track & Field is still a strong draw as they got the ratings close to 25 million for the 9pm hour and there will be Usain Bolt’s final tonight so we might see the ratings get to that mark. The difference on Wednesday and the other nights before this is that diving is not a huge draw like that and gymnastics had been featured in that 10pm hour to keep the ratings growing where there was a decline at 10:30pm.

    • Having tried to watch NBC”s coverage, the culprit for the drop in ratings in NBC. They do endless interviews or magazine features and very little sport.

      I tried to watch a couple days ago and was treated to Bob Costas opining about the Lochle scandal for a full 15 minutes… I just wanted to watch some sport…

      And if you look at it, the olympics should be really huge and it barely big in this country any longer. I think NBC’s awful coverage over the years is much to blame.

      • I’ve really enjoyed NBC’s coverage as it hasn’t changed since they had it in 1988 so I’m used to it so no complaints from me on that. I’m really glad it’s staying with NBC through 2032 and hopefully more years after that. Trust me it will be a lot worse if FOX or Disney had it. Disney already ruined the NBA on ABC and FOX ruined the World Cup last year and that was something Disney actually did well in previous years. CBS might be okay but it wasn’t that good back in the 90s to me for their winter coverage. I would’ve preferred ABC if ESPN didn’t run their sports division, ABC’s sports division back in the 70s and 80s did the games very well but these days they would be horrible. If you disliked the Lochte stuff, you would’ve gotten a full 30-45 mins. of coverage on it from ESPN.

        The other countries do it better like CBC in Canada but I don’t think the ratings would be any better on another network. Some viewers just got caught into the negative Brazil hype before the games started as evidence by the London games and streaming numbers are way up this year. Even I streamed the games a lot this year.

        • Thanks for the very interesting response Larry!

          I have to say, the last US coverage of the Games I enjoyed was 1984, when Peter Jennings was still doing sports.

          On streaming, I’d say it’s very likely the numbers were up, but my problem with the assertion is the same as usual: those are unaudited numbers which allow the networks to claim anything they want to look good in the press. And it’s something that is mentioned only in relation to declining ratings (you never hear “our ratings are better and streaming went through the roof”).

          You’re probably very right that other networks would do just as poorly.

          I heard criticism from people in other countries too caused by the worldwide adoption of the NBC standard of hopping from one event to the next with no rhyme or reason. This may satisfy the casual viewer (and they may be the majority) but turns off those who want to see complete coverage of specific events.

          I do think, however, tat better coverage would get better ratings, just like better shows get better ratings.

          Speaking of which, the few previews I caught indicate another really bad ratings year. 🙁 I mean who wants to see a TV version of Lethal Weapon or a remake of MacGyver?!!!

          • No problem Rena, one thing about us we will always be very honest with each other that’s why I enjoy talking to you. I don’t mind it when you disagree with me because at least you have a good reason to back up your responses.

            1984 was ABC’s last year of doing the summer games and for people who lived long enough to watch the Olympics during those years will give you the same response. I loved the 1984 Olympics and I loved ABC’s coverage of it that year. It definitely got worse when NBC took over in 1988. ABC’s Wide World of Sports was a beast sports division the best ever all-time in American sports in my opinion. It’s sad that we lost that legacy due to Disney’s greediness to include ESPN in on the action.

            I think that ABC’s sports division if it was still around today would do a way better job than NBC on the games as ABC’s last year of their sports division in 2005 was still really good. I knew due to the way the NBA was handled by ESPN a few years before that once they took over in 2006 everything would be ruined.

            NBC’s coverage isn’t the best it’s just the best option we have out of the four American networks with sports divisions unfortunately.

            That’s definitely true what you say about other countries bashing NBC’s coverage. NBC is the most recognizable network of all of the Olympic networks in the world right now because Team USA is the top country in the Olympics right now so whatever they do is reflected on them.

            One of the things about NBC’s coverage that’s acceptable is that most of the viewers watching it are pleased to it like most of the people that I know in real-life don’t complain about it. The only time I hear complaints about it is on the internet. NBC is very casual friendly but hardcore Olympian fans might not be too pleased with it.

            To me the worst part about NBC’s coverage is how they handle the Opening and Closing ceremonies everything in between for me is acceptable. I watched most of my Olympics on their sports app this year streaming the events in daytime or watching the cable networks that show the sports that the main network doesn’t show.

            The last thing I’ll say about NBC’s coverage is this, I think they’re very smart though for this reason because NBC knows some viewers aren’t pleased with their coverage but they know that casual viewers will keep their ratings up. They put the most watched sports in primetime and cram them in on tape delay.

            Where I think other networks could fail ratings wise is either with worse coverage like FOX does with baseball or the other networks trying to air everything live in non-primetime slots and therefore getting low ratings. Like if NBC airs gymnastics before primetime hours live their ratings would go way down. There’s some things that they do that keeps their ratings up.

            I expect really bad ratings this year maybe the worst. The new freshmen class of shows look absolutely terrible, I’m honestly not looking forward to any of them.

            • Thanks for the kind words Larry. I also appreciate your honest (and informed) opinions.

              As we discussed before, putting most of the “big” sports on ESPN made financial sense for Disney and it’s hard to criticize them too much about it, although I think that in the long-run, because they failed to order good scripted shows for so long, they ended up really hurting their flagship which will cost them plenty (but the current crop of execs will have long moved on…)

              I agree with you that tape delay can (and does) work as people who work will enjoy not listening to results and then watch the night show.

              I do think better coverage (ie. fewer magazine subjects and more sports) would deliver better audiences as casual viewers who like sports like me would not be turned off.

              • No problem Rena, thank you for always responding to my post with constructive thoughts.

                I’ve always agreed financially for Disney that putting the big sports on ESPN was a good decision for Disney but the flagship network hurt because of it. Broadcast networks despite the ratings declining harder and harder every year are still much more valuable today due to their reach for viewers as not everybody has cable in this country if they did then putting sports on ABC wouldn’t be a big deal.

                Unfortunately for Disney I don’t ever see the IOC signing with ESPN since they are likely not putting all of the major Olympic events on ABC so NBC is still their only real option at the moment. If the IOC forced Disney to make ABC the priority network then maybe they will get the games in the 2030s. I do think that since the IOC has stuck with NBC exclusively for 3 decades now that the relationship is probably rock solid to the point where we might not ever see a breakup there unless Comcast hires some people who ruin the negotiations in the future.

                I would be interested to see if the ratings change at all if there was more sports but as of right now I don’t see the ratings changing that much in that area. I thought more live events this year over tape delay would help the Olympics and it didn’t so it seems like the ratings are totally based off of the superstar athletes and locations of the games.

                • I read a few tidbits indicating that NBC was saying ratings were down because the show was taking place in Brazil. I find that hard to believe as Brazil is roughly in the same timezone as the US and thus you could program more live events, which has always been the key to getting better ratings (as people didn’t hear the results driving back home after work).

                  The IOC, as far as I know, is only interested in one ting: the size of the check, so I don’t think the “relationship” with NBC would mean much if someone was willing to pay more… unless there’s some below-the-table payments which would of course shock nobody who knows the IOC (which has the reputation of being only slightly more corrupt than FIFA!)

                  Way back when networks were better managed, CBS tried to do without football because the cost was prohibitive. They changed their minds and said that the cost was worth it for the promotional value for their other shows.

                  I don’t see much promotional value for NBC these days…

                  As we discussed before, I think having sports is job safety insurance for top executives who can always use the sports to issue average ratings that look decent to their less than knowledgeable owners.

            • On the new crop of shows, I haven’t seen most of the trailers/posters etc, but everything I’ve seen looks really lame.

              I do share your lack of enthusiasm for the new season, which is quite sad for me.

              I also would bet on new record lows for scripted shows (too bad the statistic isn’t kept) but it’s more out of thinking that erosion will continue from last season’s dismal offerings and the numerous renewal of shows that failed to find an audience.

              • Yeah overall I expect more declines and this is something that can hurt the entire broadcast industry to a point where it never recovers in the next decade because of all of the bad decisions on greenlighting these horrible shows that nobody is ever going to watch.

                • There’s already been lots of damage (at least to the scripted industry) as the low-rated shows got Saturdays deprogrammed, FOX never completing the switch to 3 hours a day and reality shows being greenlit in droves so as to lower the cost of the schedule.

                  On the production side, some of the damage has been hidden by the shows being produced for cable (with much lower budgets) but as we discussed last season, the idea we’re at a peak of production based on number of shows is very misleading given how much fewer movies and miniseries are made and how much fewer episodes are made per season for cable.

                  There is less and less money around (something nobody seems to want to discuss) and if not for the apparently inexhaustible stream of nouveau-riche people wanting a piece of the industry this would be even more apparent.

                  Another way the lack of money has been damaging is that the networks having so few shows available feel compelled to air their flops to the last episode (and often to renew them based on the idea that since people know the show – and don’t want to watch it – it’s going to work to make more…)

                  Hope that makes sense!!

                • To add a piece to our discussion, looking at the cable ratings, I can’t help but be shocked to see Fox News dominate the ratings both prime time and all-day.

                  Summer used to be when USA and TNT had fairly big hits, with Monk and The Closer getting 7-9 million viewers.

                  This year, nothing came close to that.

                  Rizzoli and Isle, Fear the Walking Dead and Major Crimes, the current “hits” are at about half that level…

                  And i don’t buy you can’t have a hit on cable. You can as Walking Dead showed.

  2. Little is made of the disaster called American Gothic. Once again, recycling the same bad writers with great connections causes the same effects…

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