NBC says London Games hard-pressed to match 2008

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NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC is predicting strong interest in the London Olympics among television viewers, but isn't expecting the event to scale the heights of the Beijing Games four years ago.

The 2008 Olympics stands as the most-watched event in U.S. television history on NBC and its cable networks, with an average of 27.7 million people who saw the prime-time telecast over 17 nights on NBC.

Chief NBC researcher Alan Wurtzel said Wednesday that while the London events will be "huge," it will be hard-pressed to match the Beijing ratings. A colorful opening ceremony that drew more than 34 million viewers in Beijing put those games on a roll.

Wurtzel said he expected London to rank among the top five most-watched events -- all of them Olympic Games.