09/14/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Olympics Ratings: 27.2 Million Viewers Watched Wednesday Night

NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympics dropped slightly Wednesday from its prior average, though easily bested competitors and won the night.

The Summer Games averaged 27.2 million viewers (9.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating/26 share), down 13% from NBC's previous five-night average. For the first time, NBC's nightly average was below Athens four years ago, down about 4%.

Still, the figures are double other major networks combined and represent NBC's largest margin of victory over competitors on a Wednesday night since at least 1992.

There's also some mitigating factors: The comparable night in Athens touted headline-making drama, with U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm earning the narrowest gold medal win in Olympic history. But last night's coverage lacked recent ratings-spiking events such as women's gymnastics and Michael Phelps' gold-medal runs.

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