"Through seven nights, the Summer Olympics are averaging 17.5 million primetime viewers — including 19.5 million on Thursday, the second highest mark so far, for a night featuring taped coverage of Sunisa Lee’s gold medal in the women’s gymnastics all around," explains The Hollywood Reporter's Rick Porter. "The primetime total includes NBC, several of NBCU’s cable outlets and streaming properties (NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock). Over the same period in 2016, NBC’s coverage from Rio de Janeiro averaged a little more than 30 million viewers. The 2016 Olympics had some built-in advantages: Rio is only an hour ahead of Eastern time in the United States, allowing for more live events to air in primetime. It also wasn’t conducted during a pandemic, which meant unlike the Tokyo games — already delayed a year due to COVID-19 — stadiums and arenas in Rio were full of cheering fans, which tends to make for a more enticing TV experience too. Those factors, plus things like Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the women’s gymnastics competition, have all likely pushed NBCU’s numbers down. But the Olympics’ audience hasn’t shrunk any more than broadcast TV as a whole."