Call it #NBCfail if you want to, but the combined networks of NBC Universal managed to turn the London 2012 Olympics into the most-watched event in U.S. television history, according to the number-crunchers at the Nielsen Company.
More than 219 million Americans watched the Games over 5,535 hours of broadcasting on NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, two specialty channels and NBCOlympics.com, Nielsen data show.
The figures eclipse those of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (also on NBC), which were watched by a mere 215 million viewers.
"For 17 days, NBCUniversal has surrounded the American viewer with the London Olympics, which have now become the most-watched event in U.S. television history," Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, said in a release. "There are thousands of dedicated and talented people in London and New York who take great pride in being part of these historic Games and this television milestone."
NBC's online Olympic coverage set records with nearly 2 billion page views and 159 million video streams, according to NBC Sports.
And even though it's been taking heat for cutting away from Sunday's closing ceremony, the network took the gold medal for the night's viewership.
Undoubtedly, the sizable audience tuned in to see a ceremony filled with contributions from the likes of The Who, Muse, George Michael, Fatboy Slim, Annie Lenox and even The Spice Girls. The Hollywood Reporter called the show a "Brit-pop orgy" in its review, noting that the festivities offered something "for every generation of the past half-century or more."