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[02/24/06 - 12:00 AM]
176 Million Viewers Watch the Olympics on the Networks of NBC Universal

[via press release from NBC]

176 MILLION VIEWERS WATCH THE OLYMPICS ON THE NETWORKS OF NBC UNIVERSAL

176 MILLION VIEWERS WATCH THE OLYMPICS ON THE NETWORKS OF NBC UNIVERSAL

NBC Skates to 15.8 Rating, Highest Rated Thursday Night on Any Network this Season

58 Million Americans Watch Ladies� Figure Skating Gold Medal Final

TORINO, Italy � Feb. 24, 2006 � 176 million total viewers have watched the Torino Winter Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal through the second Thursday of the Games, pacing just one percent behind this same point during the Salt Lake Games (178.7 million). 58 million total, unduplicated viewers watched NBC's coverage of the Torino Games last night as Shizuka Arakawa of Japan took the gold and the U.S.'s Sasha Cohen skated to a silver medal in the ladies' figure skating final, according to Nielsen Media Research fast national ratings. Through last night, nearly eight of ten U.S. TV homes have tuned in to the Torino Games (78.8% of households).

HIGHEST RATED THURSDAY NIGHT THIS SEASON: Last night's Olympics coverage on NBC rated a 15.8 household rating and 24 share for the broadcast, (8:00-11:50 p.m. ET/PT), and averaged 25.7 million viewers, and in primetime (8-11 p.m. ET/PT) was the highest rated and most viewed Thursday for any network this season (15.0, 24.5M). It was NBC's highest rated night in 18 months. The rating for NBC's Olympics broadcast last night was 14 percent higher than the second Thursday of the Nagano Games on CBS (13.9).

"Last night was an incredible night for network television, with more people tuning in than on any night in more than three years," said Randy Falco, President and COO, NBC Universal Television Group. "The Olympics continue to prove their value across the multiple platforms of NBC Universal, breaking new records online, drawing more viewers to network television and bringing new viewers to our cable networks."

NBC DOMINATES IN PRIMETIME: NBC dominated the night in primetime (8-11 p.m. ET/PT), outrating ABC by 47 percent in households (15.0 v. 10.2) and 53 percent in viewers (24.4M vs. 16M), Fox by 63 percent in households (9.2) and 56 percent in viewers (15.7M) and CBS by 74 percent in households (8.6) and 79 percent in viewers (13.7M).

HEAD TO HEAD VS. COMPETITION: NBC's Torino Winter Games coverage head-to-head beat original airings of CBS's "Survivor" and ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in household ratings (8.4 and 11.2 respectively) and viewers (14.8M and 17.7M respectively). Although Fox's powerhouse "American Idol" won the 8-9 p.m. hour, it recorded its lowest household ratings and viewer delivery of the season (13.3/23.1M).

Through last night, The Olympics on NBC is averaging 21.1 million viewers in primetime (8-11 p.m. ET/PT), more than double CBS (9.8M), up 88 percent over ABC (11.2M) and 69 percent above Fox (12.5M).

BROADCAST PEAK: Last night's broadcast peaked with a 18.9 rating and 30.6 million average viewers between 11-11:30 p.m. ET as Arakawa and Cohen performed in the ladies' free skate.

NBCOLYMPICS.COM BREAKS SINGLE DAY RECORD: NBCOlympics.com on Thursday set its single day record for page views with 29.7 million, surpassing the prior record of 29.2 million from Day 3 on Feb. 13. The single hour record also was set during the ladies figure skating gold medal final with 5.54 million page views from 4-5 p.m. ET, beating the 2.7 million page views from 4-5 p.m. ET on Tuesday for the ladies figure skating short program. On Tuesday, NBCOlympics.com set its all time record for page views and has now reached 315 million with three days remaining in the Torino Winter Games, more than doubling the 145 million page views for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games and far surpassing the 251.4 million for the Athens Olympics. The website has served over 7.5 million video streams, which equates to more than 92,000 hours of video watched on NBCOlympics.com through Thursday and more than doubles the number of streams served over the entire Athens Games.

TORINO OLYMPICS ON CABLE: Through Thursday, coverage of the Torino Games has reached 59.7 million total, unduplicated viewers on the cable networks of NBCU, 21 percent higher than the comparable time periods last year (49.2 million) and 37 percent higher than through the same point during the Salt Lake Games (43.7 million). CNBC's weekday Olympic curling coverage is averaging 913,000 total viewers (0.62 HH rating) up 608 percent vs. Feb. 2005 (129,000).

THE OLYMPICS IN PRIMETIME ON NBC

Wednesday Torino to Date through Wednesday, Feb. 22
HH Rating 15.8 12.7/20
A18-49 8.1 6.4
Average Viewers 25.7 million 21.1 million
Total Unduplicated 58 million 176 million

The networks of NBC Universal, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD and Universal HD are providing more than 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.





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· AMERICAN IDOL (FOX)
· DANCING WITH THE STARS (ABC)
· SURVIVOR (CBS)





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