TV ratings: Beatles special impresses as Olympics rule

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and David Letterman of "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America."
(Jeffrey R. Staab / CBS)

CBS aired a strong Fab Four 50th anniversary special as the Sochi Winter Olympics on NBC iced the broadcast competition Sunday night, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen.

CBS’ “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America” drew nearly 14 million viewers on average. The look-back at the group’s U.S. debut on the Ed Sullivan Show drew a 2.1 rating among the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic over its two and a half hours -- a solid number considering its competitors, which included the Sochi games, “Downton Abbey” and the return episode of “The Walking Dead.”

Ratings for “Walking Dead,” the popular AMC zombie drama, won’t be released until later Monday; they’re likely to be strong.

NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Olympics averaged 25.4 million viewers and a rating of 6.9 among the advertiser-desired 18-49 demographic, about in line with the comparable night from 2010’s Games in Vancouver, which were telecast live.


Fox only showed reruns of its animation comedy lineup. ABC aired “Toy Story 3" between reruns, bringing in 3.2 million viewers.


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