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Never underestimate the love that the average American has for all things related to the wide world of sports. Sure, basketball, baseball, and football tend to get the most airtime, but just about any sport can grab the attention of American viewers if the stakes are high enough. The stakes don't get much higher on a global scale than the summer Olympics, and when NBC recently aired the 2016 Olympic Trials in anticipation of this summer's games in Rio, TV audiences tuned in en masse to see the spectacle. In simple terms: the Trials brought home the gold this weekend.
NBC's coverage of the 2016 Olympic Trials performed incredibly well with audiences this past Sunday. The track and field events got the evening off to a strong start, and viewership for the trials seemed to peak during the coverage of the U.S women's gymnastics Trials, with the event garnering a 2.5 rating in the key 18-49 adult demo and about 8.3 million total viewers, according to THR. If this is any metric to go by, the broadcast of the actual Olympic games could become a major ratings success for NBC.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason why the Olympic Trials would draw in such a large segment of the television viewing populace. Sure, the Olympics have always represented a fairly safe bet for television networks, but this year's coverage went particularly well for NBC, and it's just the trials. For one thing, there's the simple fact that the Rio games have already turned into a major logistical nightmare; between the threats of Zika virus, rampant crime, and unfinished facilities, the 2016 summer Olympics have the potential to wind up being a bona fide shit show. It's a cynical outlook, perhaps, but it's not without merit.
Of course, then there's the simple fact that the summer Olympics do not have much to compete with in terms of scripted television. As pretty much every major scripted network series has taken a summer hiatus, the Trials only really had to compete with ABC's current summer game show lineup -- which admittedly also performed well slow Fourth of July weekend -- and reruns on all of the other major broadcast networks.
After this strong Sunday night performance for the Olympic Trials, the folks at NBC are probably feeling pretty good about the actual Olympic broadcasts when the Rio games commence later this summer. We here at Cinema Blend will bring you any and all relevant information related to the upcoming 2016 summer games, as well as NBC's coverage of the events as more details become available to us. For more information related to all of your most highly anticipated summer premieres, make sure to check out our comprehensive summer premiere schedule. Stay tuned for more details!