NBC's Olympics ratings steady

Coverage draws 30 mil viewers Thursday

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Despite a sixth gold medal win by Michael Phelps, NBC's Beijing Olympics coverage Thursday was roughly on par with the previous night.

NBC's ratings (30 million viewers, 9.3 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 27 share) gradually rose throughout the evening as the network covered men's and women's volleyball, then jumped significantly after 10 p.m. for Phelps' medal run and women's gymnastics.

The night was down from a comparable night in Athens, but that was also Athens' highest-rated telecast of the Games. The numbers mark NBC's biggest Thursday delivery in four years.

Potential sports competition from Fox was thwarted by severe weather. Fox's NFL preseason football game, Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles, was interrupted by a thunderstorm around 8:30 p.m. Fox put on an unscheduled "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" repeat. The game resumed at 9:24 p.m. (3.4 million, 1.2/4).

CBS landed in second place for the night with "Big Brother" (6.7 million, 2.2/7) and repeats. ABC was fourth with repeats (3.2 million, 1.0/3).