Add this to the list of potential #SochiProblems: Lower ratings.
Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the XXII Olympic Winter Games on NBC came in below 2010′s Vancouver launch. The ceremony hosted by Today’s Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira delivered a 18.5 overnight household rating, down 8 percent from four years ago. The numbers follow Thursday’s “bonus” night of game coverage likewise slipping below the first night of competition coverage from Vancouver.
However: Friday’s tape-delayed coverage from Russia posted gains from the last non-live Opening Ceremony in 2006. In fact, it’s the most-watched Opening Ceremony for a non-live Winter Games since the 1994 Lillehammer Games. Yesterday’s delay could have impacted the audience level given the amount of online coverage following the games (who didn’t already know about the malfunctioning ring light by the time the ceremony aired last night?).
According to preliminary nationals measuring viewership from 8 to 11 p.m., the coverage was seen by a whopping 31.7 million viewers and had a 8.6 rating among adults 18-49. Other broadcast networks largely aired repeats to stay out of the way. After the coverage, NBC aired the final Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (those numbers here). Check out EW’s “awards” gallery of the Opening Ceremony.