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NBC RATINGS THROUGH THE ROOF, REVIEWS CONTINUE MIXED
Published July 23, 1996
NBC reported a 22.9 national rating and a 42 share for Sunday's prime time coverage, a 27% increase over Barcelona's first Sunday night of coverage. For the first three nights of the Games, NBC has averaged a 21.4/42, up 32% from the first weekend in '92. Among women 18-34, NBC gained a 16.1 on Sunday night, and a 14.1 cumulative over the first weekend. Both numbers are up significantly over Barcelona (NBC Sports). NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol said he would be "shocked" if Thursday night's ratings (women's gymnastics all-around finals) were not the highest of the Games. Ebersol, Exec Producer Tommy Roy and Coordinating Producer David Neal "appeared downright giddy" after the success and the ratings for the opening weekend (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23). LAST NIGHT'S PRELIMS: According to Nielsen Sports Marketing Service, NBC gained an 8.8/28 overnight for its daytime coverage, a 26.0/42 for its prime time, and a 9.6/31 for late night. NOTE: As these numbers are preliminary overnights, they may not match later figures cited either by the network or other news outlets (THE DAILY). GOOD REVIEWS: In Sacramento, Rick Kushman writes that TV's job "is to show us everything and stay out of the way. So far, NBC has done at least that" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/22). In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton calls NBC "masterful" in "weaving gripping stories and having its hosts and reporters on top of every twist and turn" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 7/23). SO, SO REVIEWS: In DC, Tom Shales: "If the Games are as earthshaking as NBC keeps saying they are, then they merit better coverage than NBC is giving them" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/23). In Minneapolis, Noel Holston writes, despite NBC's pledges to show as much as possible, "anybody who watched much of the first three days knows the network is doing nothing of the sort" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/23). NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay notes the "endless" NBC promos in addition to nine minutes of ads per hour (NEWSDAY, 7/23). ANNOUNCER GRADES: After giving high marks to gymnastics and swimming announcers, the L.A. TIMES' Larry Stewart criticizes the cycling coverage and announcer Al Trautwig for going "overboard with the dramatics, while forgetting about basic reporting" (L.A. TIMES, 7/22). In K.C., Randy Covitz makes the case for Bill Walton -- not Magic Johnson -- to be the third man on NBC's basketball crew (K.C. STAR, 7/22). In St. Pete, Ernest Hooper writes that John Tesh is getting a "bad rap." Hooper: "As long as it is genuine, I prefer too much emotion as opposed to not enough" (ST. PETERSBURG TIME, 7/22). In Washington, Tom Shales writes, "For the most part, Tesh is showing a previously suppressed dignity" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/23). In Boston, Jack Craig calls it "highly presumptuous" for Jim Gray to label 14- year-old silver medalist Amanda Beard as "America's sweetheart" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/23). NOSE FOR NEWS? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Alexandra Peers: "While wire services and newspapers are chock full of tales of the credential foul-ups, heat stroke and transportation nightmares besetting Atlanta, it's Never-Never Land on NBC" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/23). NBC Sports spokesperson Ed Markey said he "didn't think much of the transportation story." But ACOG's problems were covered by NBC News (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/23). Ernest Hooper: "All is not well in Atlanta, but you would not know by watching NBC's prime-time broadcast" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/23).