Cable Scores with Olympics

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A strong performance by the U.S. Olympic team drove higher ratings for the second week of NBC's coverage of the Salt Lake City Games — and CNBC and MSNBC also scored in the Nielsens.

CNBC's coverage of ice hockey averaged a 0.9 rating and 718,000 households from Feb. 9 to Feb. 19. That performance was a 125 percent increase over that of the business-news programming it ran during the same period in January.

MSNBC averaged a 1.1 rating and 768,000 households for its first eight days of coverage.

Through last Thursday, NBC averaged a 19.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 31 share for its Olympics programming. That marked an 18 percent increase over the 16.4/27 CBS averaged during its coverage of the first 14 days of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Figure skating was the most popular event with viewers, drawing a 22.3/34 rating last Tuesday for NBC's first night of the women's competition. Thursday night's final, which saw 16-year-old American Hughes upset Michelle Kwan for the gold medal, generated a 26.8/41 share. That was the highest-rated Thursday night at the Olympics since the 1980 Games.