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The two-hour “Idol” was seen by 23.6 million viewers and drew a 9.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. By comparison, the Winter Games drew 19.7 million viewers.
NBC and Fox can both claim measures of victory last night, however. For “Idol,” the reality hit was down a marginal 10% from last week but retained 98% of theshow’s rating from the same night last year. Compared with the Torino games, NBC’s Olympics coverage was up 10% and this time closed the gap on “Idol” by 64%.
NBC Sports’ senior vp of marketing Mike McCarley “congratulated” Fox on its victory, noting that if NBC’s coverage had actually beaten “Idol,” it would have been thefirst time the reality hit lost a fight since 2004 (or 220 “Idol” episodes).
“Congratulations to ‘American Idol,’ the show extended its six-year
undefeated streak from 221-0 to 222-0,” McCarley said. “The show is a juggernaut.”
During January press tour, NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol was asked if he thought the Games could top “Idol” this year: “Will we beat ‘Idol’? I don’t know. They are the No. 1 show in television. But I think we will do much better against ‘Idol’ this time around than we did from Torino, because we are live.”
ABC’s “Lost” (7.4 million, 4.5) took the same knock as “Idol” — down 10%. At 10 p.m., “The Forgotten” (6.4 million, 1.7) dropped 15% from last week. Everybody else stayed out of the way with repeats.
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