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Michael 'Prime-time' Phelps helps NBC to drive ratings

Pedestrians walk in front of a Michael Phelps poster in Beijing on Tuesday.

NBC's first four nights of broadcasts from the Beijing Games have averaged 30.4 million viewers during prime time, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's 5 million more viewers than the network drew during the comparable period of its 2004 Athens Games broadcasts.

NBC's audience translated into a 17.1 prime-time rating, according to Nielsen data, or a 16% increase over the first four Athens Games broadcasts.

NBC's prime-time numbers peaked just after 10 p.m. when NBC showed (live in the East, delayed in the West) Michael "Prime-time" Phelps winning his third Beijing, and ninth career, Olympic gold medal.

In addition to Phelps' gold rush, NBC also benefited from viewer interest in the slew of medals that other U.S. athletes won at the Water Cube.

Through four nights, NBC Universal's family of networks (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Oxygen, Bravo and Telemundo) has drawn 157 million total viewers (folks who've watched at least some Olympics action), up from 142 million during the similar period from Athens.

The media company also said that NBCOlympics.com had already surpassed the total number of page views, unique users and video streams from the entire Athens Games in 2004.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Pedestrians walk in front of a Michael Phelps poster in Beijing on Tuesday. Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

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Let Yang Peiyi sing at the closing ceremonies!!!

Liu Qi and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) please let Yang Peiyi appear in-person to sing at the closing ceremonies.

in the spirit of the Olympics to allow the true performer access to the world audience. And for young women around the world to know that their abilities and talents are valued more by the world than their body image.

We Want Yang! sign the online petition



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