Olympics Ratings: 39.5 Million Watched Phelps Make History Tuesday Night

09/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rick Kissell Variety

Michael Phelps' quest for an Olympics-record 10th career gold medal drew huge audiences Tuesday, delivering the best nightly average yet for the Beijing Games.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the primetime portion of Tuesday's Olympics action averaged a boffo 11.1 rating/30 share in adults 18-49 and 32 million viewers overall, peaking in the 10:30 half-hour with a 15.0/38 in the demo and about 39.5 million viewers overall. Phelps prevailed in the 200-meter butterfly to become the most decorated U.S. Olympian in history.

NBC's nightly average extended well past 11 o'clock on this night, as post-primetime coverage included Phelps winning his 11th gold medal as part of a relay team.

The Peacock's performance in primetime on Tuesday was up vs. the comparable evening in both of the last two Summer Olympics and repped the net's best showing on the night since the Salt Lake City Winter Games in February 2002.

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