Olympics breaks 'American Idol's' six-year winning streak
By creating The Perfect Olympics Storm in primetime, mired-in-fourth-place NBC finally and spectacularly broke "American Idol's" six-year unbeaten streak.
In the course of what NBC modestly called "the greatest single day in Winter Olympics history" (because the U.S. captured six medals) the network averaged 29.4 million primetime viewers on Wednesday.
When it went head-to-head with "Idol" between 9 and 10 p.m., NBC's Games-cast averaged 30.1 million viewers. Fox's "Idol," meanwhile, clocked 18.4 million devoted fans who stuck with the singing competition just so they could be the first to learn the identities of the remaining 17 utterly unknown semifinalists.
It's the first time "Idol" has been defeated since May 17 of 2004.
In order to accomplish this record-smashing feat, NBC made viewers wait until primetime to watch Lindsey Vonn's 3 p.m.-ish (EST) dramatic gold-medal winning U.S. women's downhill run - the first time an American competitor has scored the gold in this competition.
Vonn's emotional win -- tastefully packaged with a selection of the most spectacular wipeouts by some of her competitors as well as the silver-medal-winning run of American Julia Mancuso - was part of a primetime lineup that included some of the U.S.'s biggest Games guns in years.
Joining Vonn in primetime: showboarder Shaun White's easy gold medal win in the men's halfpipe, and Shani Davis's second consecutive men's 1,000 meter speedskating gold.
Against that kind of emotional, flag-waving drama, the selection of unknown "Idol" wannabe's Crystal Bowersox, Janell Wheeler, Siobhan Magnus, and Andrew Garcia - among others - didn't stand a chance.
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