London Olympics: Opening ceremony TV ratings are a hit for NBC

NBC posted the highest numbers ever for an Olympics opening ceremony held outside the U.S., garnering a 23.0 rating and 40 share for the primetime telecast, according to preliminary results released Saturday morning by Nielsen.

The figures are 28% higher than NBC generated at the 2004 Athens Games and 7% higher than its Beijing festivities four years ago, which saw a splashy ceremony staged by the director Zhang Yimou.

Friday’s events were overseen by the filmmaker Danny Boyle and featured appearances by personalities including David Beckham to Queen Elizabeth, as well as a splashy presentation stocked with filmic, musical and political references.

The network appears to have been aided by its controversial decision not to livestream the event and instead tape-delay it for prime time on both coasts.


Still, NBC could not top opening nights for U.S.-held games such as the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Games, which yielded a 27.9 and 29.5 rating, respectively. The final numbers are expected later today.


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