TV Ratings: Wednesday's Olympic Coverage Takes a Hit, 'Idol' Comes in Strong Second

UPDATED: Despite several high-profile medal races, including U.S. gold in the women's halfpipe, NBC's primetime showing dips.
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Sochi Olympics

The Sochi Olympics posted a strong win for NBC on Wednesday night, though they were to a weeknight low for this year's Winter Games.

Nielsen's delayed returns for the night give the Olympics a 5.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 20.8 million viewers. Those mark respective drops of 37 and 29 percent from the comparable night during Vancouver 2010. 

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The dip comes as the Russians took the pairs skating contest, with the closest U.S. team placing a distant ninth. The U.S. team saw gold and bronze placement in the women's halfpipe.

The latest night Olympic coverage has Sochi down by 12 percent among adults 18-49 from the last Winter Games -- though NBC says that gross viewership across platforms and channels is improved.

American Idol was the only real competition for the Olympics. Both CBS and ABC have skipped out on programming originals this week as Fox has forged ahead. And while that proved to be an unfortunate move for Monday dramas and Tuesday comedies, Idol fared pretty well against the games.

The two-hour American Idol averaged a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49. That's down half of a point from last week -- but a modest loss considering the Olympic draw. Idol brought in 11.4 million viewers.

ABC did have one lone original: a sacrificial Super Fun Night, which tied a series low with an average 1.3 rating in the demo.