Olympics strong at start of second weekend

Friday night marked by Michael Phelps' historic performance

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NEW YORK -- More than 25 million viewers tuned in Friday night for the start of NBC's second Olympics weekend, a night highlighted by Michael Phelps' record-tying seventh gold medal in Beijing.

Friday night's coverage averaged 25.6 milllion viewers, Nielsen Media Research said Saturday. That's just shy of 2 million more than the 23.7 million who tuned in during the comparable night four years ago in Athens. The average household rating of 15.2 rating/28 share is up 6% from Athens' 14.4/27.

Things are still tracking quite well in the eight-day primetime average, 30 million through Friday night. That's up 13% compared with Athens' 26.6 million viewers. The eight-day primetime average stands at 17.4/30, up 9% from Athens. It's the best household rating for an offshore Olympics since Barcelona's 18.7/36 in 1992.