Winter Olympics, ‘American Idol’ again dominated the ratings roster last week, Nielsen says

By Frazier Moore, AP
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Olympics, ‘Idol’ rule again in last week’s ratings

NEW YORK — Seven nights of Winter Olympics and three “American Idol” editions added up to Nielsen’s Top 10 roster last week.

NBC could savor its final round of Olympics-fed ratings dominance, including the week’s most-watched program: Friday’s coverage of the Vancouver Games, seen by 24.5 million viewers.

But Fox’s “American Idol” continued to display amazing competitive spirit. Its Tuesday and Wednesday performance shows ranked second and third, respectively, while its Thursday results show claimed 10th place, the Nielsen Co. said.

The week’s much-hyped newcomer, “Marriage Ref,” scored nicely for NBC. More than 14 million viewers sampled a half-hour preview of the Jerry Seinfeld-inspired comedy-reality show. But, ranking 13th for the week, “Marriage Ref” got a privileged perch, with the Olympics closing ceremony as its lead-in.

How a full-hour version of the critically lambasted show holds up in its regular time slot — Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern — against tough competition like “The Mentalist” and “Private Practice” will be interesting to watch.

Overall in prime time last week, NBC unsurprisingly slammed its rival networks with an average of 21.3 million viewers (12.4 rating, 20 share). Second-place Fox averaged 11.0 million viewers (6.3 rating, 10 share), while CBS averaged 7.8 million (4.9 rating, 8 share). ABC had 5.7 million (3.6 rating, 6 share), the CW had 1.4 million (0.9 rating, 1 share) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7 rating, 1 share).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.6 million viewers (1.9 rating, 3 share), while TeleFutura had 1.1 million (0.5 rating, 1 share), Telemundo had 960,000 (0.5 rating, 1 share), and Azteca had 190,000 (0.1 rating, 0 share).

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 8.1 million (5.5 rating, 10 share), and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.5 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. 22-28, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Winter Olympics (Friday), NBC, 24.5 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.2 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 23.0 million; Winter Olympics (Thursday), NBC, 22.9 million; Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony, NBC, 21.4 million; Winter Olympics (Tuesday), NBC, 21.3 million; Winter Olympics (Monday), NBC, 20.9 million; Winter Olympics (Saturday), NBC, 20.6 million; Winter Olympics (Wednesday), NBC, 19.8 million; “American Idol” (Thursday), Fox, 18.03 million.

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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