Viewers Tune Out Olympics Close

Tuesday, October 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Millions of television viewers apparently tuned out the Summer Olympics before the games came to a close.

The final three nights of NBC's Olympic coverage, including Sunday's closing ceremony, drew the three smallest audiences, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Friday night's audience was the lowest, at 15.5 million people. That was the night of CBS' ``Big Brother'' finale, which drew 11.1 million viewers and did particularly well in some key youthful demographics.

The Olympics as a whole had the lowest ratings of any Summer or Winter Games since 1968.

CBS had to be encouraged by the Sunday night preview of its new series, ``That's Life.'' It had over 12 million viewers, the biggest audience for any drama or comedy during the week.

But the network couldn't entice many people to revisit Susan Hawk's famed ``rat or snake'' speech on the final ``Survivor'' last Friday. While the original show drew 51 million viewers in August, the repeat had less than 6 million.

For the week, NBC averaged 20.3 million viewers in prime-time (13.3 rating, 22 share), ABC had 9.8 million viewers (6.9, 11), CBS had 7.8 million (5.6, 9), and Fox had 7.5 million (5.0, 8). UPN had 3.7 million viewers (2.4, 4), the WB had 3.4 million (2.3, 4) and Pax TV had 1.1 million (0.9, 1).

NBC's ``Nightly News'' won the evening news ratings race with 9.5 million average viewers (7.1 rating, 15 share), ABC's ``World News Tonight'' had 8.6 million (6.6, 14) and the ``CBS Evening News'' had 7.9 million (6.0, 13).

A rating point represents 1,022,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 102.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Sept. 25-Oct. 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings: ``Summer Olympics'' (Monday), NBC, 15.7; ``Summer Olympics'' (Thursday), NBC, 14.0; ``Summer Olympics'' (Wednesday), NBC, 13.9; ``Summer Olympics'' (Tuesday), NBC, 12.4; ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Sunday), ABC, 11.1; ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' (Tuesday), ABC, 11.0; ``Summer Olympics Closing Ceremonies,'' NBC, 10.8; ``Summer Olympics'' (Friday), NBC, 10.6; ``Summer Olympics'' (Saturday), NBC, 10.5; ``NFL Monday Night Football: Jacksonville at Indianapolis,'' ABC, 10.3.


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