About 40 million people tuned in to see Michael Phelps win his record eighth gold medal on Saturday night, and the evening’s broadcast was the most-watched Saturday program on NBC since a 1990 epidose of “Empty Nest.”
Saturday’s broadcast averaged 31.1 million viewers and peaked at about 40 million at 11 p.m. when Phelps participated in the finals of the 400-meter medley relay. About 70 million people tuned in at some point on Saturday.
Through Saturday, the Beijing Olympics have drawn 191 million total viewers. That’s 14 million more than the Athens Games at the same period and 5 million more than the Atlanta Games in 1996, which holds the title for the most-watched event in U.S. history.
One big question, though: Empty Nest? Really? Richard Mulligan and his annoying daughters? Man, this is just another example of why the early 1990s were a horrible time period in American history.