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NBC Takes the Ratings Gold with Its Olympics Coverage

August 7, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC crossed the Olympics finish line way, way ahead.

The network left its rivals in the dust with a 21.4 rating and a 39 percent share of the U.S. TV audience for the week of July 29-Aug. 4. It was the second week that Olympics coverage produced television’s seven most-watched shows, with Sunday night’s closing ceremonies ranked No. 2.

ABC, with 10 of the top 20 shows, snapped CBS’ five-week streak in second place, earning a 6.2 rating, 11 share to CBS’ 5.3 rating, 10 share, according to Nielsen ratings released Tuesday. The Fox Broadcasting Co., with 15 hours of prime time, earned a 3.6 rating, 6 share.

The WB led Hollywood’s emerging networks with a 2.2 rating, 4 share on five hours’ prime-time programming, and UPN had a 1.8 rating, 3 share, on six hours of prime-time shows.

A 1 rating represents 959,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 95.9 million TV homes; share is the percentage of those televisions that tune in a given show during a specified time period.

The Olympics also helped ``NBC Nightly News″ beat out its ABC competition, longtime front-runner ``World News Tonight,″ for a second week. ``Nightly News″ led with an 8.1 rating, 19 share.

``World News Tonight,″ with a 7.7 rating, 17 share, was runner-up for only the third time since Feb. 21, 1994, when CBS’ Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, helped boost ``The CBS Evening News″ to No. 1.

The CBS newscast earned its 6.3 rating, 14 share, off just one-tenth of a point from the previous week.

The top 10 shows, their networks and ratings, were:

``Olympics - Monday,″ NBC, 26.4; ``Olympics - Closing Ceremony,″ NBC, 21.8; ``Olympics - Tuesday,″ NBC, 21.3; ``Olympics - Thursday,″ NBC, 20.7; ``Olympics - Wednesday,″ NBC, 19.8; ``Olympics - Friday,″ NBC, 16.1; ``Olympics - Saturday,″ NBC, 15.8; ``Home Improvement,″ ABC, 9.7; ``Coach,″ ABC, 8.1; ``60 Minutes,″ CBS, 7.9.

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