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Volume 24 No. 157
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Shaun White Boosts NBC Ratings On Tuesday, Moves Net Close To ’10 Average

Despite U.S. snowboarder Shaun White missing out on a medal in the halfpipe on Tuesday, his appearance during NBC’s primetime coverage gave the net a big boost over the same nights during both the ’10 Vancouver and ’06 Turin Games. NBC earned a 13.7 fast-national rating and 23.7 million viewers from 8:00-11:03pm ET on Tuesday, up 12% and 17%, respectively, from the same night in ’10. Along with coverage of White, NBC also aired Gold Medal finals for women’s luge singles and women’s ski jumping, as well as the figure skating pairs’ short program. Coverage on Tuesday was up 21% and 29%, respectively, from a 11.3 rating and 18.4 million viewers for the same night during Turin in ’06. Tuesday night also helped NBC’s five-night average draw close to the average seen during Vancouver. The net is averaging a 14.4 rating in primetime, just short of the 14.5 at the same point in ’10, and up 13% from the 12.7 average rating seen in ’06.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING! NBCSN continues its strong performance during the Sochi Games with another record daytime audience. Coverage on Tuesday from 6:00am-3:00pm averaged 1.1 million viewers, marking a new record for the net during that time period, topping the record set on Monday. NBCSN also had set records during Sunday’s and Saturday’s coverage.

TWIN PEAKS: It has been a neck-and-neck race between the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Salt Lake City markets as to who wins the race for highest-rated market during NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage. Through five nights, the Twin Cities have won three times, with Salt Lake City winning twice. Minneapolis-St. Paul is averaging a 22.5 local rating, while Salt Lake City has a 22.3 rating. Rounding out the top five markets are Denver (20.2), Milwaukee (19.5) and Ft. Myers-Naples (18.6) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NO COSTAS, NO PROBLEM: NBC today announced that Bob Costas will miss his third consecutive night of coverage tonight due to an ongoing eye infection (Mult., 2/13). NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said of the buzz generated from Costas' absence, "I am not surprised it has got this much attention. Bob is America’s Olympic host. They’ve come to expect him being here. When he’s not, it’s a story. We’re taking it day-by-day, and we hope that Bob will be back in the chair soon" (VARIETY, 2/13). Lazarus said that Costas "was being treated by Russian doctors" (L.A. TIMES, 2/13). Meanwhile, USA TODAY’s Robert Bianco reviews Matt Lauer’s performance as the substitute host of NBC’s primetime broadcast and writes he has been “fine: A dependably professional presence both alone and when bantering with Mary Carillo or Cris Collinsworth.” Lauer is “not a sportscaster, but he's spent years taking the ‘Today’ show to the Olympics, so he's familiar with the sports and many of its athletes.” Costas is “irreplaceable, which is why, wisely, Lauer did not try to replace him.” The approach he took in his introduction Tuesday was “that of a friend stepping in to help an ailing co-worker.” If viewers are upset at Lauer’s presence, it is due to “two problems Lauer can't fix: He comes with ‘Today’ baggage attached, and he's not Costas.” Bianco: “When it comes to Olympics, Costas is simply the best in the business, a likable personality, totally at ease in the job, who links a dry, self-deprecating wit to a depth of knowledge and a retained sense of wonder” (USA TODAY, 2/13). In L.A., Mary McNamara writes, "Lauer brought his trademark boyish insouciance to his debut; though he did wear socks, he was not, by gosh, going to shave" (L.A. TIMES, 2/13).

WOMEN'S DAY: The AP’s David Bauder wrote yesterday’s Canada-U.S. women’s hockey game was a “delight all around.” It was “tense and well-played,” and the announce crew on NBCSN “performed, too.” Play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick “should never be taken for granted,” as his “ability to anticipate moves, to convey information without crowding the airwaves and to build excitement is unparalleled.” Bauder: “He clearly loves hockey, but doesn’t treat it as a private club no one but devotees can enter” (AP, 2/12).