Ratings: Winter Olympics Open to 19.6 Million, Reign Holds Steady, Fallon Hits All-Time High

InquisitionFor those wondering why NBC started its Winter Olympics coverage a night early, there are almost 20 million reasons.

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Coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Thursday night netted the Peacock 19.6 million total viewers and a 5.8 demo rating — compared to the 3 million and 1.0 that the network’s usual Thursday line-up most recently averaged.

That said, that total audience is down from both the 2010 Winter Olympics’ proper Opening Ceremony (32.6 mil) and the first night of competition (26.2 mil).

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Still, 19.6 mil/5.8 > 3 mil/1.0. And that played some role in Jay Leno’s Tonight Show send-off scoring its best metered-market household rating in almost five years and Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night in turn hitting an all-time high.

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Going up against the Games, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (17.2 mil/5.0), The Crazy Ones (7.6 mil/1.7) and Two and a Half Men (8.1 mil/1.8) each slipped two tenths in the demo, Elementary (9.3 mil/1.8) dipped one tenth and The Millers (11 mil/2.7) somehow rose a tenth.

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Over on Fox, American Idol (11 mil/3.0) and Rake (4.3 mil/1.1) each were down two tenths.

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The CW’s Vampire Diaries (2.13 mil/0.9) slipped two tenths to tie its series low, while Reign held rock steady at 1.66 mil/0.6.

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Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.