SBD/24/Olympics

CBS'S FINAL NUMBER OF 16.2 MARKS THIRD LOWEST WINTER GAMES

          CBS's primetime coverage of the Nagano Games averaged a
     16.2/26, which is down 13% from Albertville in '92 and down
     42% from Lillehammer in '94.  CBS estimates that 184 million
     viewers watched all or part of the Games, making it the
     third most-watched event in TV history, trailing only
     Atlanta in '96 and Lillehammer in '94.  In the February
     Sweep-to-date, CBS has a 16.0/25, which is 70% ahead of
     NBC's 9.4/15, 122% ahead of ABC's 7.2/11 and 103% ahead of
     Fox's 7.9/12.  CBS announced that its O&O stations averaged
     a 17.5/27 for their primetime coverage, boosting ten of the
     13 O&O's to first place in their respective markets (CBS
     Sports). Sunday's Closing Ceremony earned an 11.7/18 from
     8:00-11:00pm ET, and was beat out by ABC's telecast of
     "Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding," which scored a
     16.9/26 from 9:00-11:00pm ET (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/24). 
          PLACE IN HISTORY: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes the
     16.2 rating makes its the third-lowest Winter Olympics in
     history.  Grey Advertising's Jon Mandel: "By not running
     events, CBS lost the men, and because the warm-and-fuzzy
     pieces weren't so warm and fuzzy, women didn't watch" (USA
     TODAY, 2/24).  Sanford C. Bernstein & Sons' Tom Wolzien said
     CBS was the "victim of just plain bad luck ... plus, you had
     some very aggressive counter-programming from the other
     networks. ... I think there were some very sophisticated
     programming tactics that were used this time" (CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE, 2/24).  In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes, "By
     various measures, the ... Games were highly successful." 
     The net posted strong February sweeps numbers, did well with
     its O&Os and David Letterman's "Late Show" beat out NBC's
     "Tonight Show" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).  DAILY VARIETY's Rich
     Katz writes that industry observers called CBS's performance
     "disappointing," but said it "would still benefit the net."
     Katz adds that CBS "will turn a profit" on the Games, since
     by adding "additional commercial times into its Olympic
     coverage late in the second week, CBS helped ensure it would
     not lose money on the event."  Katz notes "several" analysts
     predict CBS will see a $30M profit (DAILY VARIETY, 2/24).

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