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Ratings: Olympics force 'Idol' to settle for silver

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The trifecta of U.S. gold-medaist Olympics Studs Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, and Shaun White stunned Fox’s American Idol into submission Wednesday night. NBC’s three-hour-long coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games gained a stunning near-9 million viewers over its Tuesday night telecast, which was largely comprised of men’s figure skating. Breaking [bones]: People like seeing skiers crash. It should also be noted that Life Unexpected‘s viewership of 1.3 million was a decent turnout for any CW airing, let alone a repeat.

Time Show Viewers (in millions)
8:00 p.m. 2010 Winter Olympics (NBC)

Human Target (Fox)

Modern Family (ABC)

The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)

Life Unexpected (The CW)

29.3

7.1

5.1 (repeat)

4.9 (repeat)

1.3 (repeat)

8:30 The Middle (ABC)

Gary Unmarried (CBS)

4.7 (repeat)

4.4 (repeat)

9:00 American Idol (Fox)

Criminal Minds (CBS)

Modern Family (ABC)

Gossip Girl (The CW)

18.4

8.0 (repeat)

4.4 (repeat)

0.6 (repeat)

10:00 CSI: NY (CBS)

Cougar Town (ABC)

8.0 (repeat)

3.1 (repeat)

10:30 Cougar Town (ABC) 2.7 (repeat)

Source: Nielsen

Update: According to a statement issued by NBC, Wednesday night’s win over American Idol marked the first time Idol has not won against competition in average viewership and Adults 18-49 since May 17, 2004. From 9-10 p.m., the Olympics out-rated Idol by 63 percent among households and 30 percent amoung Adults 18-49. NBC’s Wednesday viewership of nearly 30 million is up 48 percent from the same day during the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.

Read more:

‘American Idol’ recap: Twenty-four on the Floor!

Olympic Studs of the Day: Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, Shaun White

Watching Women’s Downhill Skiing Finals: So Cruel!

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