Idol Takes The Gold

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Like a figure skater crashing to the ice, ratings for NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics tumbled Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The network's average for the two nights represented about half the viewers who tuned in for the comparable nights during the Salt Lake City Games four years ago. The real ratings champ for both nights turned out to be Fox's American Idol, whose own numbers declined a bit from previous weeks due to the Olympics, but nonetheless remained more than 50 percent higher than those for the contests on ice and snow. Among younger viewers (18-49) the difference was staggering -- about 170 percent. Wednesday's Idol "results" show scored a 16.2 rating and a 25 share, a virtual avalanche compared with the Olympics' 9.1/14. (Statisticians will no doubt be checking to see whether any other Olympics hour ever recorded single-digit ratings.) NBC regained the lead at 9:00 p.m. however, registering an 11.9/17. ABC was close behind, however, with a 10.8/16 for Lost (which led among 18-49-year-olds). Fox placed third with a 7.5/11 for Bones, while CBS trailed with a 6.2/9 for a rerun of Criminal Minds. Overall, Fox averaged an 11.9/18 for the night, beating NBC's 10.9/17. ABC placed third with a 7.0/11, while CBS placed fourth with a 6.4/10.



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