After deserting their television sets in droves earlier in the summer, Americans have returned to them en masse for the Olympics, with NBC averaging more than 30 million viewers per night during the contests' first week. In an interview with CNBC on Friday, NBC chief Jeff Zucker remarked that the success of the Olympics telecasts shows "that if you put on great programming that people want to watch, they they'll show up." Even, apparently on Saturday night -- a night that all of the networks have all but abandoned in recent years. With more than 31 million viewers tuning in, the Olympics telecasts produced NBC's best ratings for a Saturday night in 18 years, the Associated Press reported. Although ratings are expected to fall considerably during the second week, many analysts nevertheless are predicting that Beijing will beat Athens, which, with 24.6 million viewers, holds the record for a non-domestic Olympics. Surprisingly, the telecasts are receiving the biggest ratings in the two sections of the country where virtually all of the events are being tape-delayed. The Mountain time zone is averaging a 22.7 rating and a 41 share. The Pacific time zone is averaging a 20.3/39. The Central time zone is third with a 19.4/33, while the Eastern places fourth with an 18.6/33.

18/08/2008