Olympic fatigue may be setting in for NBC; ratings dips

David Bauder
Business Insider UK

NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

RATINGS: Olympic fatigue may be setting in. NBC was set up for a big night on Wednesday, with a broadcast full of exciting, medal-winning performance by Americans and an Alpine skiing competition featuring both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin . Yet the 16.4 million viewers who watched NBC, NBCSN and streaming services in prime time was the second lowest of the Olympics so far, and down 19 percent from the corresponding night in Sochi. For NBC alone, the drop was 30 percent. The skiing competition wasn't decided until after 1:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, and the gripping gold-medal hockey game between the U.S. women and Canada lasted past 2 a.m. NBC estimated 3.7 million people watched the game live.

THAT GAME: Smart move by NBCSN to rebroadcast the hockey game late Thursday afternoon. It's an instant classic, and deserves as many airings as possible. NBC's Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire were sharp and low-key, recognizing the game needed no hype. It was amusing when McGuire quickly corrected himself after saying there were "too many men on the ice." Mleczko forgave him. "I do that myself," she admitted.

CLOSING CEREMONIES: In what feels like an endorsement of their work in Pyeongchang, NBC announced that figure skating analysts Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Terry Gannon will anchor Sunday's closing ceremonies.

FIVE MINUTES: NBC loves to use the large Olympic audience to promote other shows, which is why "Today" is in Pyeongchang and you've seen about a thousand promos for the upcoming comedy "Good Girls." The ability to show live competition late night in the U.S. made it difficult to keep Jimmy Fallon on the air, however, but NBC needs to keep him visible. So NBC hit on the amusing idea of a five-minute "Tonight" show, which has included such stunts as a one-minute interview with actor Paul Rudd where Fallon cut off every answer. We'll avoid the obvious joke of networks trying it with more shows.

THE FUTURE: The future of Olympic viewing has arrived for NBC. A poll by Seton Hall University, sponsored by the Sharkey Institute, found that 44 percent of people ages 18 to 29 said they have primarily experienced the Olympics by streaming material on their devices, compared with 47 percent who said it was through watching NBC's prime-time telecast. Only 3 percent of people ages 60 and over cited streaming as their top choice.

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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