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Summer 2012: TV's winners and losers


Yeah, NBC, for those great Olympic ratings! Boo, NBC, for those dreadful time delays!

We realize summer isn’t officially over yet, but the dog days have already produced some incredible highs — and some spectacular lows. Here are our top winners and losers for the summer of 2012.


1. Dallas. Reboots are always a risky business but TNT successfully demonstrated that you can go back again to South Fork, even if Larry Hagman hasn’t trimmed his eyebrows since the Texas Oil Boom.

'Animal Practice' preview draws fewer viewers than 'Go On'

Viewers may have been angry that NBC interrupted the Closing Ceremony in order to air a preview of new fall comedy Animal Practice — but a ton of them watched the show anyway.

The show, starring Justin Kirk as a unconventional-but-lovable vet, garnered 12.8 million viewers and a 4.1 rating in the 18-49 demo, according to early figures from Nielsen Media Research. That number, however, is still less than the 16.1 million viewers who tuned in to see a Wednesday night preview of Matthew Perry’s Go On, which delivered a 5.6 demo rating.

Animal Practice retained about 49 percent of its whopping Olympic lead-in rating in the demo (4.1 vs. 8.4) and 47 percent of its total audience (27.4 million).

In all, it can be said that NBC’s previews did a solid job of exposing its fall slate, including Ryan Murphy’s New Normal, to a gigantic captive audience (no one scoffs at 12 million+ viewers), but at what cost? Says one irate commenter: “And now I have blocked NBC from my TV… Looks like I am going to miss that monkey show.”

‘Animal Practice': Justin Kirk + Joanna Garcia + monkey in tiny ambulance = ? — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
What NBC did right during the Olympics
Matthew Perry’s ‘Go On’ draws big post-Olympics audience

Olympic stars head to late-night: Let the (talk-show) games begin!

Two weeks ago, you hardly knew Ryan Lochte, and you most likely would’ve walked right past Missy Franklin and Gabrielle Douglas without flinching unless they were wearing gold medals around their necks. But the Olympics have made them huge celebrities — albeit the rare breed of celebrity that only blooms once every four years. But before they begin to wilt in the shade, you can expect to see them take their victory laps on the talk-show circuit, beginning tonight. Douglas will sit down with Jay Leno, while David Letterman welcomes decathlon champ Ashton Eaton. The entire women’s gymnastics team will visit Letterman tomorrow, and Leno will host Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte later this week.

For these athletes, these close-ups are almost as crucial as their Olympic performances themselves, for America is now watching to see if their favorite Olympian has the aura and magnetism to appear in lackluster movies, dance in a reality show contest, or become a morning-show correspondent. America truly loves its heroes.

For an entire TV schedule of gold-medal guest stars, click below: READ FULL STORY

Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony to be released as feature-length DVD

Opening ceremony auteur Danny Boyle is cutting a feature-length version of his cheeky, occasionally hallucinatory 2012 Olympics kickoff. British newspaper The Guardian reports that the finished product will be released on DVD, though it does not specify a release date.

Boyle told The Guardian that he hopes the disc will “make things clearer” for audiences, allowing them more time to spot details and references they may have missed during their first viewing. This version may speed up the Parade of Athletes as well. Boyle also plans to add more clips from classic films to the DVD, since time constraints forced him to shorten the live opening ceremony’s film montage. “It will make more sense in this version,” Boyle explained. READ FULL STORY

NBC to preview Ryan Murphy's 'New Normal' during Olympics -- EXCLUSIVE


Why should Matthew Perry have all the fun?

NBC is going to show an extended preview of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming comedy series The New Normal during the Olympics tonight. The network will air more than two minutes from the series after the Women’s BMX Finals on Friday evening. The preview is expected to hit the air around 11:17 p.m.

The New Normal is the Glee co-creator’s new comedy about a Los Angeles gay couple (Andrew Rannells) and (Justin Bartha) who have their first child with the help of a surrogate (Georgia King) who has a rather narrow-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin).

NBC had considerable success previewing Perry’s new comedy Go On after the Olympics on Wednesday night, with the episode getting sampled by 16.1 million viewers. The network also showed an extended trailer for Revolution on Tuesday. On Sunday after the Closing Ceremony, NBC will air the full pilot for new comedy Animal Practice (exclusive clip here). New Normal premieres Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 9:30 p.m. READ FULL STORY

Olympics fall to summer ratings low

Sure the Olympics are a glitzy pageant of high-stakes athletic perfection beamed from half-way around the globe. But TV viewers can get bored of just about anything, and some are clearly feeling Summer Games fatigue. Thursday night, NBC dipped to its lowest viewership since the start of the Games, with “only” 22.4 million viewers tuning in, according to the preliminary ratings.

Over on CBS, some viewers opted to watch housemates compete in a trivia competition and vote each other out on Big Brother (6.2 million, 2.1) rather than see Olympians going for the gold.

The Olympics dip is to be expected now that high-interest sports like swimming, gymnastics and women’s beach volleyball have largely been replaced by track and field and diving. Still, the London Olympics have averaged 12 percent higher overall than the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. NBC hopes for a viewership spike during the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday evening, where it will preview its new sitcom Animal Practice.

'Revolution' extended preview: Let there be darkness!

What’s more incredible than Aliya Mustafina’s dazzling uneven bars routine? Try the thought of a world without cars, lights, television, computers, or air conditioning. That’s the premise of NBC’s Revolution, an apocalyptic series from J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau — and if the extended preview that aired during tonight’s Olympics coverage is any indication, a post-electric society could be just as riveting as the London games.

Check the clip below to catch a glimpse at Revolution‘s first episode, which features analog weapons in action, a spooky flooded Chicago, a plucky girl with a boy’s name, and Giancarlo Esposito being Giancarlo Esposito.


Olympic ratings take a dip (but are still huge)

Primetime Olympics ratings took a dip Wednesday night.

Overall, NBC’s viewership was still huge: 30.8 million viewers tuned in for events such as swimming, diving and gymnastics on the broadcast network last night.

But those numbers represent the lowest Olympics viewership so far this week. Sunday had 36 million viewers. Monday delivered 31.6 million. Tuesday jumped to 38.7 million viewers.

It’s worth noting that the first six nights of Olympics coverage — including last night — have still been higher rated than the first six nights of the previous two Summer Games in Beijing and Athens.

RELATED: NBC defends Olympics coverage: Critics a ‘loud minority’

NBC defends Olympics coverage: Critics a 'loud minority'

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus and NBC Research Group President Alan Wurtzel defended the network’s Summer Olympics coverage strategy during a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. Here’s the duo taking on several burning questions, including the network’s decision to tape-delay certain events.

How have the Olympics performed so far? Actually quite great. Ratings are up 10 percent from the last Summer Games in Beijing. The coverage package might show a profit for NBC instead of another $200+ million loss like in Vancouver in 2010. Lazarus says NBC’s affiliates, advertisers, and partners are all happy (plus some viewers too). “We couldn’t be more pleased by the results on all of our platforms,” Lazarus said. “We are over-delivering on every day part.”

Why isn’t more coverage live? READ FULL STORY

NBC's Olympics coverage might show profit

You know that NBC loses millions upon millions covering the Olympics, right?

Maybe not this year.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus told reporters Thursday morning that the network’s coverage might actually show a profit. Previously, the company estimated it would lose around $200 million.

“With ratings and sales increases, we’ve made significant incremental money and we will now be around break even — no qualifiers,” Lazarus said. “It’s a small chance that we can make a little bit of money. We’ll know over the next couple weeks.”

In 2010, NBC lost more than $200 million on the Winter Olympics. NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage has posted significant ratings gains since the Opening Ceremony aired last week. Though many of us have criticisms of NBC’s tape-delay strategy (and we’ll have a post with Lazarus addressing that in a few minutes), the company avoiding a huge hit is good news: We all want to continue having massive comprehensive Olympics coverage on a ton of platforms, regardless of the broadcast network.

RELATED: NBC defends Olympics coverage: Calls critics a ‘loud minority’

'Hunger Games' fever: Archery tops Olympics cable ratings

Yup, archery is firmly hot.

Ratings for Olympic coverage of the sport have surged on cable, say NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus and NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel. And the executives have a suspicion why.

“Archery is the new curling,” Wurtzel said. “The numbers for archery have been nothing less than huge. Maybe it’s The Hunger Games phenomenon. We’re going to keep an eye on that.”

The executives told reporters on a conference call Thursday morning that archery coverage on MSNBC and NBC Sports Network have rated higher than any other Summer Games sport on cable so far this year, averaging 1.5 million viewers and beating out basketball as the top Olympic sport among the network’s non-broadcast network coverage.

Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig (pictured) trained actress Jennifer Lawrence on how to dispatch rivals as Katniss in The Hunger Games. Archery was also featured in the recent Pixar movie Brave and in The Avengers. Plus, there’s two upcoming new fall TV shows that have plenty of bow-and-arrow action: NBC’s Revolution and The CW’s Arrow.

RELATED: NBC defends Olympics coverage: Calls critics a ‘loud minority’

NBC ratings huge for Women's Team Gymnastics final

Viewers seem to be holding no bad blood toward NBC after their Monday night Olympics foiler.

Last night’s coverage, which included a gold medal win for the women’s gymnastics team, netted a whopping 38.7 million viewers and a 21.8 rating. That’s the best rating in any summer Olympics since 1996 and the best Tuesday night on any network since the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. That rating also bests the first Tuesday of the Beijing Games by nine percent. (Read our recap of the night here.)

Over the first five nights of the Games, the network has averaged 35.6 Million viewers and a 19.5 rating. NBC’s time-delay practices have gotten much flack in these first few days of the London Games, but perhaps it’s the network that will be taking the biggest victory lap this year?

Olympic Stud of the Day: Michael Phelps, the ‘most decorated’ Olympian in history
Olympics recap, Day 4: Jordyn Wieber gets her gold in the Women’s Team Gymnastics final
NBC apologizes for Olympics spoiler: ‘This will not happen again’

NBC apologizes for Olympics spoiler: 'This will not happen again'

NBC has issued an apology for spoiling the results of teen swimmer Missy Franklin’s gold medal-winning race.

In the latest controversy during the network’s highly rated Summer Olympics coverage, NBC ran a Today show promo on Monday night that revealed the outcome of the heavily anticipated 100-meter backstroke before the event was actually telecast. Now NBC’s sports division, which has been pretty adamant about the merits of its tape-delay strategy as public criticism mounts, has issued a statement admitting the network screwed up.

“Clearly that promo should not have aired at that time,” said an NBC Sports spokesperson in a statement. “We have a process in place and this will not happen again. We apologize to viewers who were watching and didn’t know the result of the race.”

NBC’s Today show ad announced last night, “When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with,” and showed footage of Franklin holding the gold medal and with her parents. READ FULL STORY


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