American Idol had to settle for the silver medal  for the first time in six years. It’s the first time Idol had lost a single half hour to its competition since 2004.   NBC bested American Idol across the board from 9pm-10pm and in most demographics (though it was a tie with women 18-34).

In the 9pm hour Idol averaged a 6.9/17 rating /share with adults 18-49 to NBC’s 9.0/22.  NBC averaged over 30 million viewers for that hour (30.065M) to FOX’s 18.42 million.

On the night NBC averaged an 8.9/23 rating/share with adults 18-49 and 29.26 million viewers overall.

Fueled by gold medal performances from the likes of Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White, NBC saw its best numbers of the games in Vancouver (though the opening ceremonies on Friday had more viewers).

Idol haters, I wouldn’t read into this data that American Idol is dead, far from it.  Against amazing competition it still had a 6.9 rating with adults 18-49.  So while editorially I do believe that the big story today is that Idol’s winnings streak is over, it doesn’t have any “death of American Idol” connotation to it for me, at least ratings wise.  But the end of the winning streak is notable nonetheless, so I felt like it had to be highlighted.  Reasonable people can disagree!

FOX was the only English language broadcast network to air original programming against the Olympics.  At 8pm, Human Target had a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49, and 7.1 million viewers – down from last week’s 2.9 rating with adults 18-49, and 8.9 million viewers.


Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millons)
8:00 NBC Vancouver Winter Olympics 7.6/21 26.56
FOX Human Target 2.1/6 7.14
ABC Modern Family (R) 1.7/5 5.09
CBS New Adventures of Old Christine (R) 1.3/4 4.91
CW Life Unexpected (R) 0.6/2 1.34
8:30 ABC The Middle  (R) 1.7/5 4.66
CBS Gary Unmarried (R) 1.4/4 4.43
9:00 NBC Vancouver Winter Olympics 9.0/22 30.07
FOX American Idol 6.9/17 18.42
ABC Modern Family (R) 1.7/4 4.37
CBS Criminal Minds (R) 1.9/5 7.96
CW Gossip Girl (R) 0.3/1 .608
9:30 ABC The Middle (R) 1.2/3 3.20
10:00 NBC Vancouver Winter Olympics 10.1/26 31.15
CBS CSI: NY (R) 2.0/5 7.99
ABC Cougar Town (R) 1.4/3 3.14
10:30 ABC Cougar Town (R) 1.1/3 2.70

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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