The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, got started on a positive note for NBC Thursday night, with the network’s coverage dominating prime time, based on Nielsen overnights for both the key 18-49 demo and total viewers. Over on CBS, meanwhile, a long-running comedy that was once a ratings juggernaut sank to its lowest demo rating ever.
TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the Olympics delivered a 5.8 average rating in 18-49 for NBC from 8-11 p.m. — down 23% from the first night of the 2010 Winter Games, but in that case the Games aired against weaker competition on a Saturday, and the coverage came after the opening ceremony. This year’s opening ceremony is today, Friday.
On second-place CBS the long-running "Two and a Half Men," which was a ratings powerhouse back in the Charlie Sheen days, saw its fortunes sink further. The show fell to an all-time-low 1.8 average in the 18-49 demo, off 10% from a week ago and near the bottom of CBS’s Thursday night comedy lineup.
Also hitting a series low was CBS’s "The Crazy Ones," which dipped 11% to a 1.7 in viewers 18-49. "The Millers" defied the downtrend, ticking up 4% to a 2.7, while the drama "Elementary" slid 5% to a 1.8.
CBS’s "The Big Bang Theory" continued to lead the network’s Thursday lineup, pulling a 5.0 average in 18-49 going head-to-head against the Olympics at 8 p.m. "Bang’s" number was off just 4% from last week.
Fox came in third overall, with "American Idol" slipping 6% from last week to a 3.0 average in 18-49 and "Rake" dropping 15% to a 1.1.
ABC placed fifth for the night, behind Univision, with a two-hour "The Taste" managing only a 1.0 in the 18-49 demo, off 9% from a week ago. A "Shark Tank" repeat at 10 p.m. contributed a 0.9.
For prime time overall, NBC’s 5.8 average in viewers 18-49 put the Peacock well ahead of the pack, followed by CBS (2.5 average), Fox (2.1), Univision (1.3) and ABC (1.0). NBC had a huge margin in total viewers as well, averaging 19.6 million to lead CBS (10.4 million), Fox (7.6 million), Univision (3.248 million) and ABC (3.220 million).