ABC’s Good Morning America won the February sweep in overall audience despite an Olympics boost for Today, while the NBC morning infotainment show took the ratings derby in the news demo off of which ad sales are made in the daypart. With a Sochi-laden lineup, Today pulled in its best February sweep demos in two years and in overall audience in four, which would put it at the last Winter Games. Today noted it cut its year-to-year gaps with GMA during the sweep by 146% in the demo, and 95% in total viewers. But GMA managed to pull off its seventh consecutive sweep win in overall audience – and its second-most-watched sweep in more than two decades — in the teeth of Today‘s Olympics-centric February. And, compared to the 2010 February sweep, which coincides with Today‘s boost from the Vancouver Winter Games, GMA climbed 24% in overall audience and 16% in the news demo.
What with the recently wrapped Winter Olympics competition results being known well in advance of NBC‘s various Olympics broadcasts, and the United States coming in fourth in number of gold medals scored, behind Russia (13), Norway (11), and Canada (10) (U.S. was No. 2 in overall medal count, behind Russia), many of NBC’s most buzz-worthy Sochi moments were all about — NBC. Which, presumably, is the future of broadcast network primetime Games coverage. How successful was NBC? Here’s a look at the 4 Big NBC Moments At Sochi:
“I’m Bob Costas, sitting in tonight for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira,” Costas joked when he finally returned as NBC’s Primetime Games anchor after six days on the sick list while doctors treated his Twitter-trending double eye infection. The incident was historic, because it broke Costas’ 14-year Olympic anchoring streak and Vieira became the first woman ever to get the gig, if only temporarily.
Bode Miller’s Tears
When Olympian Bode Miller doubled over weeping as NBC peppered him with questions about his dead brother, after winning the Super-G bronze medal, social media response was savage. NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell insisted it would have been “irresponsible” of the network not to have asked Miller about his brother, who died in April, after setting up that storyline before Bode’s run. But what saved NBC, ironically, was Miller coming to the network’s rescue the next morning on Today show, saying interviewer Christin Cooper is “a sweetheart of a person” who he knows “didn’t mean to push” adding, “I do not blame her at all. I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that.” For years NBC has used this super-personal strategy in its Olympics coverage, thinking it connects viewers with the athletes and the Games. Also at Sochi, Meredith Vieira asked silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago and the role it played in her decision to come back from Olympics retirement.
NBC To Bring Back ‘Heroes’ As 13-Episode Event Miniseries In 2015: Video
By Nellie Andreeva – On the heels of Fox reviving its iconic drama 24 as an event miniseries, NBC is doing the same with one of its most popular serialized dramas of the past decade, superhero series Heroes. Creator Tim Kring is back shepherding the 13-episode new standalone arc entitled Heroes: Reborn, which will air in 2015.
Matt Ryan Lands Title Role In NBC Pilot ‘Constantine’ Based On DC Comic
By Nellie Andreeva – Welsh actor Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) is finalizing a deal to play the lead in NBC’s drama pilot Constantine, from Warner Bros TV. Based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories, the project centers on John Constantine (Ryan), an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.
Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast For Broadband Access; Public Knowledge Calls For FCC, DOJ Action
By Jen Yamato – There may be smoother streaming ahead for Netflix subscribers as Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for direct broadband access. Comcast had previously denied Netflix’s request to connect to its broadband network free of charge, sending Netflix users’ streaming content through third party internet providers to access Comcast’s network.
CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Live’ Ratings Sink To Second Lowest Ever, CNN Ties Sixth Worst Primetime Result
By Dominic Patten – Piers Morgan’s rocky ratings just took another dive for CNN. On Tuesday, the Brit’s 9PM show had its second worst result ever in the all important adults 25-54 news demographic. With a total audience of 270,000 watching, Piers Morgan Live drew a mere 50,000 viewers in the demo.
UPDATE: 8:45 PM: Jimmy Kimmel revealed on his ABC late-night program tonight that the video of a wolf posted to YouTube by U.S. luger Kate Hansen with the message “I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi” was in fact a wolf in Los Angeles walking down a replica of the hall outside Hansen’s Sochi hotel room. Hansen agreed to let Kimmel’s people take over her Twitter account to post the video, he said. Like the last time Kimmel punked the media with his fake twerk-fail video, he ran clips of various news outlets he’d fooled — many of them ruminating as to whether the animal actually was a wolf, a husky, a malamute, or a mutt. Kimmel showed the rest of the video, in which he is seen skiing down the hallway, calling out the name “Garfield” and asking, “Have you seen my wolf?” Kimmel then interviewed Hansen via Skype, who said “there was a little more backlash” at the hotel than she’d anticipated, including security staff who, she said, were “freaking out” after word of the video got around. “It kind of went a little crazy here,” she said. The animal is a “timber wolf mix,” its handler said, believed to be 80%-90% wolf, though she was not certain, and is named Rugby.
For days NBC Sports had been saying its Nancy & Tonya documentary would probably air on Sunday before the Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony, which also would sync it up with the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Competition. But that slot depended on any weather delays or unforeseen problems during NBC’s coverage. This morning, the network nailed down a timeslot: this Sunday at 7 PM ET/6 PM CT.
Mary Carillo will examine the events that held Americans spellbound after defending U.S. figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee after a practice during the 1994 U.S. championships and rival Tonya Harding’s husband and bodyguard were arrested for planning the attack. The docu, which combines present-day and archival interviews, practice and competition footage, and news coverage leading up to and during the events, includes a sit-down with Kerrigan and a one-on-one with Harding. It culminates in the three-hour telecast of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics ladies’ figure skating short program competition that was viewed by more than 126 million Americans. That ranked at the time as the fourth-most-viewed show in U.S. history, according to Nielsen data released by CBS, which televised the event. In addition, the competition earned a 48.5 rating — meaning nearly 50% of the country’s television homes were tuned in, a number that has not been matched since by any television program.
Today climbed back on top of the ratings among morning infotainment programs, last week, though it did not find itself at the same dizzying ratings heights, relative to the competition, it has enjoyed in past Winter Games. Today, after some recent ratings doldrums, delivered its biggest audience advantages over ABC’s Good Morning America since the second week of the London Games in August 2012, according to fast national program ratings from Nielsen for last week.
The second week of the London Games, you’ll recall, is the last time Today show beat GMA in total viewers. GMA has won every week since in overall audience.
Today averaged 6.221 million viewers last week — its biggest weekly crowd since the week of the Royal British wedding in April 2011. Today‘s 6.221 million viewers topped GMA’s 6.010 million for the week by 211,000 viewers. For comparison sake, that second week of the London Games, Today’s total viewers lead over GMA was 1.541 million. And Today’s lead over GMA during the first full week of broadcast from the Olympics in 2010 was 1.884 million.
In the news demo, Today averaged 2.545 million viewers its first full week of Sochi Olympics broadcasts – its biggest demo haul since the week of the Joplin, Missouri tornado in May of ’11. That 2.545 million is 185,000 viewers ahead of GMA’s 2.360 million demo viewers last week. Here too, it’s Today’s biggest edge over GMA since the second week of the London Games. Four years ago, during the comparable week at Vancouver, Today led GMA by 1.011 million demo viewers.