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Ratings Archives: Summer 1996

The summer of 1996 was owned by NBC. They had the NBA Finals, The MLB All-Star Game and the Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta.

The NBA Finals averaged about 20-25 million viewers of the six games. All six games were on the top of the weekly ratings. When the Chicago Bulls were in the finals, America came to watch Jordon put on the show.

In early July, the MLB All-Star game was the #2 program of that week, as it attracted 18.5 million viewers. Not a bad number considering the National League scored quick and often and by the 3rd inning was completed, the game was essentially over. the NL when on to win 6-0.

Starting on Friday, July 19th, with the opening ceremonies, NBC had 17 days of non-stop coverage of the 100th anniversary edition of the Summer Olympic Games. the first 10 days, or so, NBC was averaging about 35 million viewers a night and a household share of around 40%. The last few days, the audience average was closer to 25-30 million, with the low mark being the second to last day of competition (August 3) with just 23 million viewers and a 32 share.

Even without the sports bumps, NBC was still leading the pack on most weeks. This was the golden era for the Peacock Network.

The WB and UPN and even some of the FOX line up, started the 1996-97 TV season a couple weeks early. The race between UPN and the WB began to tighten and FOX was inching ever closer to the BIG 3 networks.

Nielsen Broadcast ratings charts for May 26 to September 15, 1996
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