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With Michael Phelps earning his sixth gold medal in Beijing, NBC’s Olympics coverage Thursday climbed from the previous night.
NBC’s ratings (30 million viewers, 10.4 preliminary adults 18 to 49 rating and a 27 share) gradually rose throughout the evening as the network covered men’s and women’s volleyball, then jumped significantly between 10 p.m. and midnight for Phelps’ medal run and women’s gymnastics. The night is 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 pre-season football game, Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles, was interrupted by a thunderstorm at 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).
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