Huffpost Media

Olympics Rule The Ratings

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NEW YORK — The Winter Olympics ruled in the ratings last week, treating NBC to an average audience roughly three times the size of its nearest rival, Fox.

NBC's coverage of the Winter Games held seven of the top eight spots for the week, the Nielsen Co. said Tuesday.

But Fox didn't come up empty. Its dual editions of "American Idol" placed fifth and ninth in the week's Top 10 rankings.

Tuesday's "Idol" drew more viewers than did NBC's Olympic action airing at the same time. During the Wednesday hour when the two shows went head-to-head, the Olympics were chosen by about 30 million viewers while more than 18 million tuned to "Idol."

Meanwhile, CBS' recently introduced reality show, "Undercover Boss," showed continuing strength by seizing 10th place with a hefty 13.8 million viewers.

Overall, NBC trampled its competition with an average of 24.8 million viewers (14.1 rating, 23 share) in its first full week of Olympics coverage, with the network surely cheered that another week awaits before the torch is doused.

Second-place Fox averaged 8.7 million viewers (5.0 rating, 8 share). Not far behind in third place was CBS, averaging 7.8 million (4.9 rating, 8 share)

ABC had 6.3 million (4.0 rating, 6 share), the CW had 1.4 million (0.9 rating, 1 share) and ION Television had 1.0 million (0.7 rating, 1 share).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.9 million viewers (1.9 rating, 3 share), while TeleFutura had 1.0 million (0.5 rating, 1 share), Telemundo had 990,000 (0.5 rating, 1 share), and Azteca had 170,000 (0.1 rating, 0 share).

As usual, NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening newscast race with an average of 11.1 million viewers (7.2 rating, 13 share). "ABC World News" was runner-up with 8.0 million (5.4 rating, 10 share), and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.4 million (4.3 rating, 8 share).

A ratings point represents 1,149,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.9 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Feb. 15-21, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Winter Olympics (Wednesday), NBC, 29.4 million; Winter Olympics (Saturday), NBC, 26.7 million; Winter Olympics (Monday), NBC, 25.2 million; Winter Olympics (Thursday), NBC, 24.8 million; "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 23.9 million; Winter Olympics (Friday), NBC, 23.30 million; Winter Olympics (Sunday), NBC, 23.29 million; Winter Olympics (Tuesday), NBC, 20.3 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 18.6 million; "Undercover Boss," CBS, 13.8 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is owned by CBS Corp.; CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp.; Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp.; NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co.; ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks; TeleFutura is a division of Univision; Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.

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On the Net:

http://www.nielsenmedia.com

(This version CORRECTS audience figures for evening newscasts.)