The weekly television ratings competition was no competition with the start of the Summer Olympics in London.
Friday's opening ceremony drew more than 40 million viewers for NBC, numbers that were about the same as for the Grammy and Academy awards ceremonies this year, and far more than anything else on U.S. television this summer, Nielsen said.
The first two nights of competition that followed had NBC getting bigger audiences than they had in the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Nielsen said.
For the week, NBC averaged 19 million viewers in prime time (10.4 rating, 18 share). CBS was a distant second, averaging 4.6 million (3.0, 5), Fox had 3.6 million (2.1, 4), and ABC had 3.5 million.
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.4 million viewers (1.8, 3), followed by Telemundo with 1.4 million (0.8, 1).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.5 million viewers (5.7, 12). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.2 million (4.9, 10), and the "CBS Evening News" had 6 million viewers (4.1, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of July 23 to 29, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony," NBC, 40.65 million; "Summer Olympics" (Sunday), NBC, 36.05 million; "Summer Olympics" (Saturday), NBC, 28.72 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.43 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 8.76 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.88 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.22 million; "Wipeout" (Thursday), ABC, 6.85 million; "Two and a Half Men" (Thursday), CBS, 6.64 million; "Hell's Kitchen" (Monday), Fox, 6.46 million.
Rihanna, Drake score 5 Video Music Award nods
The MTV Video Music Award nominations are out, and Rihanna and Drake are leading the pack with five nominations each.
Last year's big winner Katy Perry isn't far behind with four nominations.
Rihanna has two chances to win for video of the year; she's nominated both for her hit "We Found Love" and for her duet with Drake on "Take Care." Others in the category include Katy Perry for "Wide Awake"; Gotye for "Somebody That I Used To Know"; and M.I.A. for "Bad Girls."
The show will air live from Los Angeles on Sept. 6, and will feature performances from four-time VMA winner Alicia Keys and One Direction, up for best pop video for their hit "What Makes You Beautiful."
Former 'Idol' Kimberley Locke wants judge's chair
Kimberley Locke wants to fill that vacant judge's chair on "American Idol." The season 2 finalist feels having a former contestant on the show can bring renewed interest to the popular TV singing competition.
"I would love to sit in that chair and, you know, give some advice from the contestant's standpoint because I've been on that stage and I know what it's like," Miss Locke said Monday in an interview with the Associated Press.
But don't consider her a pushover. Miss Locke says she'll be brutally honest about each performance and "give it with no fluff."
"When you're a contestant on that show, you do need that hard truth sometimes," Miss Locke says, anticipating her critical tone would fall somewhere between the styles of two former judges.
"I'm not quite as nice as Paula [Abdul]. Paula's super, super nice, but I don't think I'm quite as mean as Simon [Cowell] either."
The empty judges' chairs came after Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez decided not to come back for another season. Last week, Mariah Carey confirmed she would join the show's 12th season. Other names mentioned to fill the missing spot include Nick Jonas, Pharrell Williams and Charlie Sheen.
Whether Miss Locke gets the call or not, she loves the idea of former contestants coming back to judge. Adam Lambert also has been vocal about his willingness to be a judge on "Idol."
Since finishing behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken at the end of the show's second season, Miss Locke embarked on a solo career, releasing two albums on Curb Records. Miss Locke recently started her own label, IAM Entertainment. Her first single, "Finally Free" came out Tuesday. She plans to release another single this year and a full album early next year.
Ricky Gervais offers English lessons in new web series
British comic Ricky Gervais is leaping onto the web series bandwagon, saying Tuesday he has finished editing a pilot for an online project with a distinctly pedagogical theme.
He gave few details about "Learn English with Ricky Gervais" besides saying the pilot has "turned out great" and that he might charge viewers "a small fee ... a couple of quid [British pounds]" to cover the cost of making the show.
"I'm thinking of making a clean version of the pilot available for download so people can put their own subtitles on it and repost it," added the 51-year-old creator of the hit comedy "The Office" on his blog.
Web series, specially written and produced for Internet viewing, are swiftly gaining in popularity — and big-name stars are joining the fray.
Earlier in July, Jerry Seinfeld premiered "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" in which he toodles around town in vintage cars, yaks about nothing in particular with fellow comics, then stops off for a caffeine fix.
• Compiled from wire reports.