A star-studded American lineup on Wednesday from the London Olympics once again pushed NBC's primetime audience past the comparable night from the Beijing Games. That marked the 12th time in 13 nights that the action from the 2012 Games exceeded their counterparts from the 2008 competition.
NBC's Aug. 8 telecast -- featuring Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings taking their third straight gold medal in beach volleyball; Allison Felix winning the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint; and Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson winning gold and silver, respectively, in the 110- meter hurdles -- averaged 29.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
That delivery made the telecast the most-watched second Wednesday for any Summer Olympics since the 1976 Games in Montreal, even besting the comparable night from the domestic Atlanta competition in 1976. Last night's show topped Beijing's 24.8 million viewers by 17% and the 2004 Athens Games' 24.3 million by 20%. It did, however, fall 6% short of the 30.8 million who tuned in NBC's primetime telecast on Aug. 1, the first Wednesday from London.
The taped coverage from 8 p.m.-11 p.m.(ET/PT) earned NBC a 16.8/28 national rating/share, 11% higher than the comparable night from Beijing (15.2/26), and 10% above Athens (15.3/26).
Through the first 13 days, the London Olympics averaged an 18.3/31 and 32.6 million viewers in primetime, making the current quadrennium the most-watched and highest-rated non-U.S. Summer Olympics since ABC aired the action from Montreal 36 years ago.
The 13-day average audience represented a 12% increase and 3.6 million more viewers than Beijing's 29 million and 25% and 6.6 million more than Athens' 26 million viewership. On the ratings watch, London lorded over Beijing's 16.9/29 and Athens' 15.8/27 by 8% and 16%, respectively.