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August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics ended with solid ratings for the closing ceremony. The three-hour primetime telecast averaged 26.92 million viewers, peaking in the 9:00 p.m. hour with 32.63 million — up 32 percent over the closer of the Beijing Olympics four years ago, according to preliminary overnight ratings from Nielsen Research. The other three networks combined averaged about 10 million viewers. CBS’s 60 Minutes was the highest-rated competitor with 5.97 million viewers. In Britain the closing ceremony drew an even bigger audience than the opening ceremony — 23.2 million, represent 80.7 percent of the British audience. (It reached 26.2 million at its peak.) The production received nearly universal praise. Critic Tom Sutcliffe wrote in the London Independent: “Where Danny Boyle’s opening show had been a statement of intent and national values, this was an hour-long advert for British stadium rock-show design. As such it was slick, impressive, often visually startling.” Michael Billington commented in Britain’s Guardian newspaper: “You can’t really review a show like this. You can only describe it. But what emerged through all the smoke, strobe lighting and special effects was the energy of British popular culture over the past few decades and the gaiety of our Olympic ceremonies.” Troy Rawhiti-Forbes observed in the New Zealand Herald that viewers “were treated to a pop culture smorgasbord that had touches of brilliance, beauty, and bewilderment – often at the same time.” And the Hollywood Reporter concluded that the production provided “a reminder that the Olympics are as much about spectacle as sport.”