Winter Olympics, ‘Jeopardy!’ Ratings Slid on Friday

by Joe Rutland

Ratings for Friday night’s primetime network programs are in and numbers for both the Winter Olympics and Jeopardy! were down.

The Beijing Games are winding down and possibly some people are just tired of watching them. Still, others might be looking for more gold from the athletes from the United States. Let’s get some information about these numbers from TV Line.

NBC’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics averaged 6.34 million total viewers, down 15 percent from Thursday. That number marks the Beijing Games’ second-smallest audience thus far. It only beat out the Feb. 16 audience.

Winter Olympics Will Come To An End For NBC On Sunday

Now, on ABC, the Jeopardy! National College Championship drew 4.5 million viewers and a 0.4 demo rating, That is trending down ahead of Tuesday’s upcoming finale. Over on CBS, Celebrity Big Brother with 2.5 million viewers and a 0.5 demo rating, was up a tenth week-to-week.

Then Fox’s Friday Night SmackDown dipped at 2.1 million viewers and a 0.5 demo rating. The show was taped ahead of WWE’s Elimination Chamber PPV that was live from Saudi Arabia.

Back to the Winter Olympics for a minute. The Closing Ceremonies take place on Sunday, Feb. 20. Weather issues forced the move of one competition from Saturday to Sunday. Which one was it?

Cross-Country Ski Race Gets Bumped To Final Day Due to Winds

Well, it was a cross-country ski race. See, high winds in Beijing forced postponement to Sunday, the final day of the Winter Games. This probably does cause some people to change schedules. After all, many participants of the Alpine mixed team parallel race had to rebook local transportation and flights.

Why? Because of the disruption. Olympics officials recorded gusts up to 60 mph on Saturday, which simply made the track too treacherous to compete. It is hoped that Sunday will provide better conditions. It still will be windy, though, with gusts of up to 50 mph expected.

Olympics and International Ski Federation (FIS) officials have to make quick decisions. Sometimes, they are not popular ones at all. Like when the Federation had to shorten the men’s 50K cross-country race to 30K due to weather. Some of the athletes were not happy at all and shared their thoughts.

Meanwhile, the men’s freeski halfpipe final did move forward as planned on Saturday. That’s despite the heavy winds, of course. A number of the event participants did fall in their final runs for a medal. What a sight to behold for those watching as well as those involved.

“It was gnarly today,” British skier Gus Kenworthy said. “And there wasn’t a discussion about postponing or waiting a little bit or anything,” Kenworthy’s opinion affirms others’ that were measuring the weather.