41.9 MILLION WATCH OLYMPICS’ OPENING CEREMONY
NBC’s strategy of forcing viewers to tune in to its delayed primetime telecast of the Olympics’ opening ceremony may have generated numerous complaints, but, in the end, it paid off in ratings gold. Reporting preliminary overnight results, Nielsen said today that the primetime portion of the telecast between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. averaged 41.92 million viewers. That figure far exceeded the 34.89 million who tuned in to the opening ceremony in Beijing four years ago. The solid result — it is the second-highest rating for any program of the year except for the Super Bowl — will allow NBC executives to thumb their noses at critics who have complained about the network’s decision to delay the telecast until primetime and not make it available on the Internet.