The Olympics That Came in From the Cold

Even before Nancy and Tonya skated onto center ice, the Winter Olympics were making TV history. For the first 11 days of the Games, prime-time viewership was up 37% over '92. Then, for the women's short program on Wednesday night, ratings soared to an astonishing 48.5, meaning 48.5% of all U.S. homes with TV sets were tuned in, making that broadcast the sixth highest rated TV show of all time. Friday night's figure-skating finale garnered a smaller but still huge 43.9.

After years of fragmenting TV audiences and drooping ratings for even major sports events such as the Olympics and the...

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