09/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ABC, CBS, Fox See Lowest Ratings In History During NBC's Olympics Reign

NBC is running out of ways to describe its stellar Olympics ratings.

During last week's Summer Games coverage, the network enjoyed the most-watched week in total viewers outside of the traditional broadcast season since the Atlanta Games in 1996. It also was the most dominant margin of primetime weekly victory in the history of Nielsen's People Meter ratings measurement. The seven nights of Beijing Olympics coverage took up the seven top rankings for the week in all key measures.

Little noticed in all the fanfare is that NBC's competitors are setting records of their own, having uniformly endured their worst week ever.

From the ratings week ending Aug. 17, ABC, CBS and Fox each had their lowest-rated and least-watched week in recorded People Meter history (which almost certainly means their all-time lowest; People Meters were rolled out in 1987 and broadcast averages have eroded significantly since then). Fox's 3.2 million average marks the lowest-ever turnout for a major network; ABC's 1.1 rating represents the lowest rated in the adult demo.

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