Olympic trials pique viewer interest in Tokyo Summer Games
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AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Amid all the back-and- forth about the feasibility of holding the Tokyo Olympics during the pan- demic, there are early indi- cations of viewer interest in the summer games.
U.S. Olympic team trials in swimming and track and field that aired Sunday on NBC fell short of gold- medal ratings but won enough viewers to edge into the top 20, according to Nielsen figures released Tuesday.
NBC’s coverage of the tri- als to date is down 26% compared to viewership for comparable Olympic trials in 2016 on the network. Basketball and hockey playoffs are one potential reason: It’s the first time the NBA and NHL events have overlapped with the trials.
The NBA playoffs accounted for a lion’s share of the most popular shows last week and helped make TNT the most- watched outlet on cable or broadcast.
The Olympics, delayed by a year because of COVID- 19, will be held held July 23 to Aug. 8 despite wide- spread concerns from the Japanese public and med- ical community. The Olympics and the Paralympics combined will bring nearly 100,000 ath- letes and others into the country that has a low vaccination rate.
NBC was the most- watched network last week in prime-time, with an average of 3.2 million view- ers. CBS had 2.7 million viewers, ABC had 2.67 mil- lion, Fox had 1.45 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Ion Television had 1 mil- lion and Telemundo had 950,000.
TNT handily led the cable networks with an average of 3.49 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.14 million, ESPN had 1.65 million, MSNBC had 1.19 million and HGTV had 1.15 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings competition, averaging 7.7 million view- ers last week. The “NBC Nightly News” had 6.3 mil- lion and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.7 million.