|Pushing the needle highest was Wednesday night's electrifying performance by U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm.
OLYMPICS TV VIEWERSHIP TOPS PREVIOUS GAMES
NBC Household Ratings Exceed Expectations
Up 18% over Sydney
Wednesday night's broadcast was watched by 66 million total viewers, earning a 17.3 national rating and 29 share, up 18% from the 2000 Games in Sydney at the same point, according to the data.
A share is a percentage of television households that have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all TV households, whether or not their sets are turned on. (For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. households with TV.)
Paul Hamm's gold win
Coverage peaked when viewers tuned in for Paul Hamm's back-from-the grave grab at Olympic gold in gymnastics. The broadcast between 9.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. gained a 19.4 rating/30 share, or an average of 28.4 million viewers.
In a statement issued late yesterday, Randy Falco, president of NBC Universal Television Networks Group, said the company was experiencing increased viewing on its cable and Internet platforms as well.
Through Wednesday, the sixth day of Olympic coverage, NBC said it has attracted 159 million viewers or 58% of the U.S. population.