|Missy Franklin won gold in the backstroke Monday at the London Olympics. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images )|
by Scott Collins
Here's what happens when a 17-year-old American swimmer wins her first gold medal: high TV ratings.
Missy Franklin, the Pasadena native who took first place in the 100-meter backstroke, helped power NBC's fourth night of coverage of the London Olympics (the first night consisted of the Opening Ceremony, which more than 40 million saw). An average of 31.6 million total viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen.
That's not quite as high as Sunday's figure (36 million), but it was nevertheless the best first Monday for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Montreal back in 1976, when 37.7 million watched.
NBC is still on pace to have the most-watched Summer Olympics in history. Through four nights, the coverage is averaging 34.8 million viewers. That's slightly ahead of the 1996 Atlanta Games, which is considered the modern benchmark, with 34.5 million tuning in through four nights.
Source: London 2012