NBC Fails to Maintain Gold-Medal Ratings in Sydney

Despite stellar ratings last week, NBC’s coverage of the 2000 Olympiad is losing steam with viewers.

A disappointing 18.6 million viewers tuned into the games on Tuesday night, according to the Neilsen ratings — the lowest since the 1968 Tokyo games. In fact, a rerun of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire almost eclipsed NBC’s coverage with a 15.4 rating.

By comparison, the Sydney Olympiad is overall 9 ratings points behind the viewership of the Atlanta games, and 14 ratings points behind those held in Barcelona.

Why is NBC taking a hit in ratings this week? In a word, Buffy.

The WB’s fall premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer bit into the Olympic coverage Tuesday night, with a rating of 3.2 million among males — giving the WB a second-place finish. The overall ratings for Buffy this week set a record high for the series.