Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 10:30 AM: Last night’s opening ceremony of the London Olympics drew 40.7 million viewers to become the most watched Summer Games opening ceremony ever and the most watched non-U.S. Olympics opener. Overall, it is the second most watched opening ceremony behind only the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter games. Vs. the last two Summer Olympics, Danny Boyle’s show, highlighted by the Queen’s skit with James Bond, drew almost 6 million more viewers than the 2008 Beijing Olympics (34.9 million) and 15 million more than the 2004 Athens Olympics (25.4 million), the last games held in Europe.

PREVIOUS 7:50 AM: NBC‘s decision to keep footage from the Olympics opening ceremony off TV and the Web for hours to make U.S.’ primetime angered fans but resulted in strong preliminary ratings for the extravaganza orchestrated by Danny Boyle. The show scored a 23.0 Rating/40 Share in the overnight ratings — the highest ever for Games not held on American soil. Compared to the three most recent Olympic Games, that was 7% higher than Beijing, 28% higher than Athens and 24% higher than Sydney. (Of course, London had a more favorable time zone difference than the other three.) Overall, the Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Atlanta Games’ opening festivities are remain highest-rated. The ceremony did great at home too, posting a 14-year high rating for BBC.

Related:
Oh Danny Boy! Oh Boo NBC! Oscar-Winning Director’s “Giant Juke Box” Wins Kudos For Olympic Opener; NBC Hammered Back Home For Not Airing Live From London
London Olympics Preview: Coverage Is “Hybrid Of Innovation And Tradition”, But Will It Do The Job?

Here is a chart of historic US ratings data:

OPENING CEREMONY AVERAGE VIEWERS (ALL SUMMER GAMES ON RECORD):

1. London2012 40.7 Million NBC
2. Atlanta – 1996 39.8 Million NBC
3. Beijing – 2008 34.9 Million NBC
4. Sydney – 2000 27.3 Million NBC
5. Athens – 2004 25.4 Million NBC
6. Seoul – 1988 22.7 Million NBC
7. Barcelona – 1992 21.6 Million NBC

 

NON-U.S. OPENING CEREMONY NATIONAL RATING (SUMMER GAMES)

1. London – 2012 21.0/37 NBC
2. Beijing – 2008 18.8/34 NBC
3. Rome – 1960 18.1/36 CBS
4. Sydney – 2000 16.2/29 NBC
5. Seoul – 1988 15.2/29 NBC
6. Athens – 2004 14.6/27 NBC
7. Barcelona – 1992 13.8/29 NBC
8. Montreal – 1976 11.1/39 ABC
9. Mexico City – 1968 8.8/34 ABC
10. Munich – 1972 6.5/28 ABC
11. Tokyo – 1964 5.6/14 ABC

 

NON-U.S. OPENING CEREMONY OVERNIGHT RATINGS:

1. London – 2012 23.0/40 NBC
2. Beijing – 2008 21.5/37 NBC
3. Lillehammer – 1994 21.0/34 CBS
4. Vancouver – 2010 20.0/33 NBC
5. Nagano – 1998 18.6/30 CBS
6. Sydney – 2000 18.5/32 NBC
7. Seoul – 1988 18.3/33 NBC
8. Athens – 2004 18.0/30 NBC
9. Sarajevo – 1984 17.2/27 ABC
10. Calgary – 1988 17.0/40 ABC
11. Barcelona – 1992 16.5/32 NBC
12. Albertville – 1992 16.0/26 CBS
13. Torino – 2006 14.7/23 NBC


OPENING CEREMONY OVERNIGHT RATINGS FOR U.S. GAMES:

1. Los Angeles – 1984 29.5/55 ABC
2. Salt Lake City – 2002 27.9/43 NBC
3. Atlanta – 1996 27.2/47 NBC

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.