Winter Olympics TV Ratings Slide Downhill to Worst Night Yet


Viewership for the start of NBC's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics programming was down 14.8 percent from comparable coverage of the 2014 Sochi Games, continuing the pattern of dropping viewership for almost all forms of television programing.

Thanks to the Winter Olympics, This Is Us and the Super Bowl, NBC won the gold in the race for the most-watched network and taking a slim lead over CBS.

With digital figured in, NBC's Total Audience Delivery for the Olympics climbed to 26 million Sunday night.

Over the first five days of the Olympics, the prime-time audience is about 24 million on television and cable.

The report also notes: "Excluding all sports, CBS remains the total viewership leader though NBC has logged its closest No. 2 position (1.9 million viewers behind CBS) at this point in the season in 15 years, since 2002-03". (It's just 20.9 million if you look at the broadcast network alone.) Compared to Sochi in 2014, viewership for the games are down just 6 percent. Adding in viewing from cable and digital platforms secured a 11% increase to 22.6 million.

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CBS had each of the week's two most-watched entertainment programs, "NCIS" and "Bull", fifth and sixth overall, averaging 13.897 and 10.9 million.

NEP and its Bexel division, which has provided broadcast gear for every Olympics since the Atlanta Games in 1996, will send an experienced, combined team of more than 30 specialists to support NBC's production of the PyeongChang Games. Even This Is Us is only averaging 16.6 million viewers per episode, with Live+7 DVR viewership included.

MSNBC was second for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 1.696 million.

The "CBS Evening News" averaged 7.091 million viewers.

With a 13.0/23 in metered market results for NBC and NBC Sports Network's primetime coverage, the net matched its low for the PyeongChang games.