Big Brother 10’s ratings increase against the Olympics even as other shows drop

NBC’s Olympics coverage from Beijing has ruled prime-time television for more than a week now, as it pulls in roughly the same number of viewers most nights that American Idol does for its finales. Yesterday, NBC said that its “10-day average primetime viewership is 29.8 million”; 31.66 million people watched Idol‘s finale.

But one show has been able to stand up to those talented athletes and their so-called athleticism: the challenging physical and mental games known as Big Brother 10. Yes, the lowest common denominator of summer TV is basically the one series standing up to television with actual value. In fairness, most other broadcast TV shows have been reruns, so CBS’ summer reality show is pretty much the only option, with some exceptions.

Last night, 6.39 million people watched, down a little from then season-high ratings earlier this month. Media Life cites ratings among 18- to 49-year-olds (in a way that requires a mathematical brain or some super-familiarity with ratings data to comprehend), but notes that Sunday’s “edition was actually up 21 percent from the previous week, and Thursday’s ‘Brother’ showed an increase over the previous week as well. Nearly every other show has been flat or down since the Olympics began.”

As TV By the Numbers points out, “The Big Brother faithful may only number in the six millions, but they are very faithful and watch a show that hardly costs anything to produce three times a week.”

Olympics Mid-Game Report [NBC press release]
‘Big Brother’ holds up against Beijing [Media Life]
Nielsen Ratings Sunday, August 17: NBC Olympic Viewing Down 20% After Phelps? [TV By the Numbers]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.