TV ratings: Sochi Olympics close lower than Vancouver

Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony
Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
(Nhat V. Meyer / San Jose Mercury News)

NBC closed out its coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics down in the ratings from the Vancouver Games four years ago. 

According to preliminary numbers from Nielsen, the closing ceremony for the Games in Sochi, Russia, drew 15.3 million viewers on average. Those statistics are down significantly from the Vancouver closer, which averaged 18 million viewers.

That’s not surprising, though, given that ratings from the 2010 event probably benefited from live coverage and the gold medal hockey game between the United States and Canada that day. 

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Based on the numbers available so far, the Sochi Olympics brought in an average of 21.2 million viewers through its complete run, down 13% from Vancouver. In the advertiser-desired 18-to-49 demographic, the games were down 17% from 2010 and 10% from the Torino Olympics in 2006. However, the overall audience for Sochi was bigger than Torino’s 20.2 million. 

NBC gave its new comedy “Growing Up Fisher” a post-Olympics debut and its preliminary ratings are unreliable because of its 10:36 p.m. start time. Based on the early numbers, it looks like 9.3 million people were tuned in. “Fisher” generated a 2.1 in the key demographic, lower than NBC’s preview of “The Marriage Ref” in 2010.  

Narrated by Jason Bateman, “Growing Up Fisher” follows a young boy coming of age amidst the divorce of his mother, played by Jenna Elfman, and his blind father, played by J.K. Simmons. A clearer read on the reception for the show should come when the series settles into its regular Tuesday 9:30 p.m. time slot, following the new show “About a Boy." 

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CBS’ “Amazing Race” premiere -- facing the Olympics and Fox’s Daytona 500 coverage -- was down from a year ago. Sunday’s launch drew 7.42 million viewers and a rating of 1.6 in the 18-to-49 demographic, representing a drop of 36% from last year’s Season 22 opener for its lowest-rated premiere ever in the demographic. The numbers are subject to change  because the premiere was delayed by CBS’ golf coverage.

Numbers for Daytona, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and the fourth season finale of “Downton Abbey” on PBS aren’t yet available, but those shows are sure to be major factors in the final ratings. 

Other than sports, Fox aired reruns, while ABC showed repeats and a movie. 


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