BY LYNN ELBER
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The Rio Games had a less-than-golden start for NBC but were enough of a draw to allow the network to dominate the weekly ratings.
The Summer Olympics opening ceremony had 26.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen company figures released Tuesday. That’s a 35 percent drop compared to the 40.7 million U.S. viewers who watched the opening of the London Games four years ago — although NBC is pointing to more time-shifted viewing and streaming as factors in the decrease.
Still, Olympic broadcasts were the three most-watched programs of the week of Aug. 1-7. The opening spectacle and events including gymnastics combined with two episodes of “America’s Got Talent” to give NBC five of the top 10 shows, Nielsen said.
The network led with an average of 15.3 million viewers, followed by ABC with 4.1 million. CBS had 3.9 million and Fox 1.7 million, the latter nudged closely by Univision with 1.6 million and Telemundo with 1.4 million. ION Television drew 1.2 million, followed by CW with 1 million viewers.
In the evening-news contest, NBC’s “Nightly News” held the top spot with 8 million viewers, followed by ABC’s “World News Tonight” with 7.7 million. The “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.
For the week of Aug. 1-7, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Summer Olympic Games (Sunday), NBC, 29.8 million; Summer Olympics opening ceremony (Sunday), NBC, 26.5 million; Summer Olympics (Saturday), NBC. 20.6 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.6 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 9.4 million; “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 8.6 million; “The Bachelorette: After the Rose,” ABC, 8.1 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.8 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 6.5 million; “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 6 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. CNN is owned by Time Warner.
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