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'Marriage Ref' opens big thanks to Olympic lead-in

March 1, 2010 | 10:48 am


With the last night of the Winter Olympics as a lead-in, Jerry Seinfeld's new reality show, "The Marriage Ref," got off to a strong start for NBC on Sunday night.

The program, which Seinfeld executive produces and on which he will make occasional appearances, seeks to resolve trivial and not-so-trivial spats between couples. Last night's guest judges were Alec Baldwin, who certainly knows what does not make for a good marriage, and Kelly Ripa.

Premiering at 10:30 p.m., "The Marriage Ref" averaged 14.6-million viewers and a 4.8 rating among adults ages 18 to 49. Each rating point in that category equals 1.3-million people. It certainly did not hurt Seinfeld that the last half-hour of the Winter Games averaged almost 19.5-million viewers and a 5.3 rating among adults 18 to 49. "The Marriage Ref" will make its regular time-period debut Thursday, from 10 to 11 p.m.

Needless to say, NBC dominated the night with 19.8-million viewers and a 5.3 among adults 18 to 49. CBS was a distant second with 11.5-million viewers and a 3.1 in the 18-49 demographic.

Final numbers for NBC's Winter Olympics and an analysis will come later today.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Jerry Seinfeld on "The Marriage Ref." Credit: Heidi Gutman / NBC