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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.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 18, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: Tiger Woods poll: Are networks going overboard?

Comments

No doubt where the author stands on this. What a slanted piece.

"NBC modestly called", "NBC made viewers wait", "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", " tastefully packaged with a selection of the most spectacular wipeouts", "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", etc.

Talk about sour grapes.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | February 18, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

How long is the mainstream sports media going to continue to pretend that Americans don't care about the Olympics? If you listened to ESPN, ESPN980, and PTI you would think this is a minor blip on the sports scene barely worthy of attention despite the TV ratings and this is nothing new. Every time the Olympics roll around whether it is the Summer or Winter, these geniuses discount the Games as if we don't care and the ratings are always good if not great like this time. Wake up guys!

Posted by: blackandred777 | February 18, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Indeed the Olympics may be an "emotional, flag-waving drama", but AI during these audition/selection programs is an "emotional, schmaltzy drama".

Whose parent has died? Who had to miss the birth of a child? Whose grandma may not remember anything about the whole affair? Get out the flag - or get out the hanky.

Some "contest" for a viewer! Pride versus pity.

Yes, we saw which choice "won".

Posted by: jqw3827 | February 18, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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