In an era with so many other entertainment choices, any increase in viewers is considered a victory for networks. For an event that was tape-delayed 12 hours and was covered heavily on the Internet before broadcast, it's downright mind-boggling. Considering that the Ceremony was broadcast on a Friday night in August, when many people are doing things other than staying at home and watching TV, and the numbers become even more amazing.
The Opening Ceremony was the highest rated television show in the United States since the Super Bowl, beating out both the Oscars and the finale of American Idol. NBC expects to maintain the boffo ratings through the first week of competition, when swimming and gymnastics will be broadcast live in primetime. The second week could be dicier, as the bulk of the evening events will be shown on tape delay.
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