One sliver of silver is that the NBC/NBCSN metered market meld did top the comparable night results of the Sochi games from 2014 by 11% but was still behind Vancouver 2010.
Over the first five days of the Olympics, the prime-time audience is about 24 million on television and cable.
Viewership was the third largest for a Winter Olympics opening ceremony not shown live in the USA behind the 33.8 million average for the 1994 Lillehammer Games, which were carried by CBS, and the Sochi Games. The announcement was made today by Christopher Adams, VP of Venue Engineering, NBC Olympics, and Glen Levine, President, NEP U.S.
The Saturday coverage was third for the week, averaging 21.394 million, 14.8 percent less than the 25.12 million average in 2014.
ABC, CBS and Fox together averaged 9.5 million viewers Sunday night. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in US television history.
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This marks the first time NBC has ranked No. 1 in total viewers at any point during the season since it won the 2001-02 crown 16 years ago.
However, those numbers does not include the combined rating that NBC and NBC Sports had on Sunday night which saw a total of 16.5 in metered market households.
NBC calls its data "Total Audience Delivery" - which looks at average minute viewing of all platforms, with traditional TV network data coming from Nielsen.
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal's Olympic Games coverage. NBC has sold more than $900 million in ads so far and expects its telecast to be profitable.
The week's 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony and its Sunday, Saturday and Thursday Olympics coverage; CBS' "NCIS" and "Bull"; NBC's "This Is Us"; ABC's "The Good Doctor"; CBS' "NCIS: New Orleans"; and NBC's "Ellen's Game of Games".