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Early Olympics ratings for Channel 2 are strong

Depending on who your friends are, you might have thought interest in NBC's coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics from South Korea isn't very high in Western New York.

Nielsen says otherwise.

People might not be talking about these Games as they have about past Games, but they are watching the competition in big numbers for network television these days.

WGRZ-TV, Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate, finished 10th among 56 national metered markets for Friday's opening ceremony with a 19.8 household rating. That was well above the national rating of 14.7 and down only slightly from a 20.4 rating here for the opening ceremony in Sochi.

On the first full night of competition coverage Saturday night, Channel 2 finished No. 19 with a 16.7 rating, the same rating here for the first Saturday in Sochi.  The national rating Saturday was 11.6.

On Sunday night, Channel 2 averaged a 15.4 household rating on a night that one of the bigger events – the women's giant slalom featuring Derby skier Tricia Mangan -- was postponed until Wednesday. The first Sunday in Sochi had a 17.9 rating on Channel 2.

To put those Olympics ratings in perspective, it is extremely rare for any prime time entertainment program to get a live rating that high.

The numbers may be down slightly from the early numbers here for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but everything in television is down from four years ago. But you probably know that if you have followed the NFL rating story.

Some other notes:

  • Of course, NBC is also benefiting from its extensive Olympics coverage for the morning program "Today," with American medal winners featured in interviews. This morning, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb interviewed the first American winner, 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard, at the top of the program.
  • If you are interested in live competition, CBLT-TV, the CBC affiliate in Toronto, was carrying a live men's mogul ski competition at about the same time – 9 p.m. Tuesday in South Korea – that "Today" was doing its interviews. CBC carries more live competition because it isn't as interested in protecting big events for its prime time coverage.
  • Inquiring minds want to know: When will CBC be available in high definition on local cable? The downside of watching CBC is the channel isn't carried in HD in Western New York unless you get it free over-the-air. I've been trying to find out for years why local cable isn't carrying it in HD and if there are any plans to do it. I've gotten the same silence from Spectrum cable that I received from Time Warner Cable when it was the company delivering local cable. The short answer is I don't know why Spectrum isn't carrying CBC in HD or if it ever will. But I imagine the issue could involve money, bandwidth or both.

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