50 MILLION VIEWERS WATCH TORINO WINTER OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY ON NBC
Torino Opening Ceremony Draws More Total Viewers than This Week's Idol, CSI, Grammys or Dancing with the Stars
13.1 Primetime Rating Highest For Any Network on Friday Night
Since Last Olympics, Aug. 2004
TORINO, Italy -- February 11, 2006 -- NBC's coverage of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Torino attracted 50 million total viewers, attracting a greater total audience than either of this week's editions of American Idol (40M on Tuesday, 38.7M on Wednesday), the Grammys (44.3M), CSI (34.5M) or Dancing with the Stars (29.9M). It is the third most viewed non-domestic Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in history, behind only the tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games in 1994 (62 million) and Nagano in 1998 (52 million), according to Nielsen Media Research fast national data. The broadcast aired from 8-11:46 p.m. ET/PT. NBC's coverage of the Salt Lake Games in 2002 was the most-watched Opening Ceremony in history, with 72 million viewers. Last night's primetime 13.1/21 HH rating (8-11 p.m. ET) is the highest Friday primetime rating for any network since NBC's coverage of the last Olympics, the Athens Games (14.1/26 on Aug. 20, 2004).
"We are right where we thought we'd be for this Opening Ceremony," said Randy Falco, President and COO, NBC Universal Television Group. "As I said this week, our projections show us doubling the under-lying primetime ratings average � and we exceeded that."
NBC's Opening Ceremony broadcast garnered a 12.8 household rating/21 share, more than doubling the average 4-network primetime rating for Friday night (4.9, +167%). The Olympics doubled its closest competition, ABC (3.0/8 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers, 6.9/11 in households from 8-11 p.m.) in 18-49 and total viewers. It is also the highest rating for any show on NBC since Jan. 27, 2005 (ER, 13.0).
"A television event's ability to rise above the current primetime average is a true measure of its success, based on the dramatic changes in the media landscape from Olympics to Olympics especially over the past decade," said Alan Wurtzel, President, Research and Media Development, NBC Universal.
The Opening Ceremony won every half-hour last night in HH and outrated Fox by 555% (2.0) and CBS by 126% (5.8). The Opening Ceremony also won every half hour in A18-49 (6.6) and outrated Fox by 267% (1.8) and CBS by 154% (2.6) for the night. The Olympics nearly tripled NBC's Friday average of a 2.3 rating in 18-49 for the season and topped NBC's Friday average in household rating (5.3) by 147%.
The Opening Ceremony of the Nagano Games, the last non-domestic Winter Games, in 1998 was a 17.1/29. The Salt Lake Opening Ceremony in 2002, the highest rated Opening Ceremony of all time, Summer or Winter, drew a 25.5/42. Other notes:
� Last night's average primetime audience for the Opening Ceremony in Torino was 22.8 million viewers, more than double CBS (10.3 million) and ABC (8.8 million) and almost seven times greater than Fox (3.3 million). It was the highest average viewership on any network for a Friday night since the last Olympics, the Athens Games, (23M on Aug. 20, 2004) and was 196% higher than NBC's average Friday delivery (7.7M).
� Friday's broadcast peaked between 9:30 and 10 p.m. ET with a 14.5/23 as the Parade of Nations began from Olympic Stadium.
The networks of NBC Universal, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD and Universal HD will provide 418 total hours of coverage � including the most live coverage � across the most platforms of any Winter Olympics in history of the XX Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy, Feb. 10-26.