NBC has best Saturday in 18 years
Not quite. Saturday, Feb. 24, 1990, 31.4 million viewers tuned in to watch Empty Nest. Wow. That says much more about the growth of cable TV and how the big networks have abandoned Saturday than it does about the success of the Olympics. At a time when half that number is the stuff of a hit show, it seems strange to think that 31 million people were watching Empty Nest.
Despite finishing the Phelps story, the Saturday broadcast was only a minor increase for the network. After nine days NBC is averaging 30.1 million viewers for the primetime broadcasts. Imagine what they could do if they'd stop running gymnastics after 11PM...
It all leads up to a poorly conceived quote from NBC Universal president and CEO, Jeff Zucker. He said, "This event shows the pipes work and that if you put on great programming that people want to watch, then they'll show up." People will watch great programming is kind of obvious. Zucker would be better off not talking about that though, because once the Olympians pack up their gym bags and head home, the network will most likely slide back to its all too familiar fourth place slot. And, now that he's assured us that the pipes work, our only conclusion is that, "If you put on crap programming that nobody wants to watch, then they won't show up."
Oh, and the picture is Agnieszka Bednarek, from Poland's Olympic volleyball team. She really has nothing to do with the story, but that USA vs Poland match was excellent. And would you really rather look at a picture of Jeff Zucker?