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Nielsen: Olympics kickoff gives NBC a decisive ratings jolt, with CBS runner-up for the week

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Winter Olympics are once again golden for NBC.

The first four nights of NBC's Olympics programming seized the top four slots in last week's audience rankings, vaulting that network to a leadership position it will likely enjoy throughout the games.

First place for the week: Friday's opening ceremony, seen by nearly 32 million NBC viewers.

But while NBC's blanket coverage from Sochi meant a decisive, if predictable, overall win, CBS proved a hardy runner-up, otherwise dominating the top 20, Nielsen said.

In particular, CBS' "Beatles: A Grammy Salute" special drew 14 million viewers, to rank ninth for the week, just ahead of Fox's Wednesday edition of "American Idol," seen by 13 million viewers.

But both those programs were bested by AMC's "The Walking Dead," which sunk its teeth into an audience of more than 15 million viewers.

Overall in prime time for the week, NBC carried the torch with an average of 17.2 million viewers. CBS had 9.6 million, followed by Fox with 5.0 million and ABC with 4.8 million. Univision had 3.0 million, the CW had 1.6 viewers, Telemundo had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.

The week's top-rated cable networks were History with 2.23 million, AMC with 2.21 million and USA with 2.01 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 11.0 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 9.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 8.5 million viewers.

For the week of Feb. 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, NBC, 31.69 million; Winter Olympics Sunday Prime Time, NBC, 26.32 million; Winter Olympics Saturday Prime Time, NBC, 25.12 million; Winter Olympics Thursday Prime Time, NBC, 20.02 million; "NCIS," CBS, 19.53 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 17.53 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 16.30 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 15.76 million; "Beatles: A Grammy Salute," CBS, 14.05 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 13.43 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC, USA and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. History is owned by A+E Networks. AMC is owned by AMC Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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