Winter Olympics Ratings Trounce Idol, First Defeat Since 2004

Let’s try this again! (I need more sleep…)

Rhu rho.  According to Mediaweek: “The Winter Olympics bested Fox’s competing American Idol in the 9 p.m. hour (Viewers: #2, 18.42 million; A18-49: #2, 6.9/17) by 11.64 million viewers and 30 percent in the demo

It’s the first time Idol has been defeated in the ratings since May 17, 2004. In fact, back in Season 5, Idol held up very well against that year’s Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy…

Idol held up against the Olympics Tuesday night, I wonder what made the difference? (eta: Olympics fans are telling me big stars competed last night)

-Ratings Breakdown:
Ongoing coverage of The Vancouver Olympic Winter Games exploded on dominant NBC last night, with 29.26 million viewers and an 8.9 rating/23 share among adults 18-49 for the prime-time portion (from 8-11 p.m.). Here is the half-hour breakdown:


Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (NBC)
8:00 p.m. – Viewers: 23.56 million (#1), A18-49: 6.5/19 (#1)
8:30 p.m. – Viewers: 29.55 million (#1), A18-49: 8.7/23 (#1)
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 29.15 million (#1), A18-49: 8.7/21 (#1)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 30.98 million (#1), A18-49: 9.3/22 (#1)
10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 31.77 million (#1), A18-49: 10.0/25 (#1)
10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 30.54 million (#1), A18-49: 10.1/27 (#1)

Comparably, The Winter Olympics bested Fox’s competing American Idol in the 9 p.m. hour (Viewers: #2, 18.42 million; A18-49: #2, 6.9/17) by 11.64 million viewers and 30 percent in the demo. That’s right…American Idol actually finished second in the time period!

About mj santilli 33687 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

35 Comments

  1. Isn’t the deciding episode in the long walk always one of the lowest rated episodes?

    Notice the Olympics had the lowest ratings right at 8 pm. It could turn out to be a HUGE mistake for Idol moving Wednesday’s show to 9 pm.

  2. I was gonna watch idol but then opted for the olympics instead since it was just some tedious reveal… *yawn*

    Besides wanted to see the speed skating, haha. the americans were killing last night, not in just speed skating, but in general :)

  3. I begrudgingly watched Idol last night, but I really could have flipped to the Olympics myself. I did right at 10 pm.

  4. I think this might also be due to the fact that 4 of the American “stars” of the Olympics were all going to be televised last night – even knowing the results in advance, I wanted to see Lyndsey Vonn ski her winning run. And I love Apolo Ohno and Shaun White – all of whom competed yesterday and were going to be televised last night, either live or tape-delayed.

  5. You can thank the American Olympic all-stars Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White and Shani Davis. They were all on last night.

  6. Next week is a performance episode on Wednesday at 8 pm, so it should hold up better.

  7. I bet it was a combination of all the things people have mentioned: it didn’t air until 9, giving people a chance to hook into the Olympics instead; there were big names up last night in Vonn, White and Davis; and Tuesday’s snoozefest marathon may have turned people off of watching Idol again last night, especially people who had already checked out the top 24 spoilers.

  8. No contest. I’ve recorded Idol the last few weeks because there’s nothing to be gained in watching it in real time. The Olympics have been fantastic, and last night we got to see a lot of live coverage — and US gold!

    Next week will be very interesting, when Idol goes live. Will it be up against the women’s figure skating program at any point?

  9. didn’t watch either night this week…not really interested
    opted to watch women’s hockey last night…GO Canada !!

  10. Well, I flipped back and forth between FOX (for AI) and NBC (for the Olympics), mainly because NPR spoiled the Women’s downhill results earlier in the evening and I wanted to watch. Really it was a great night all around for US Olympians with Shaun White, Shani Davis and Lindsay Vonn winning Gold medals as well as 1 silver and 2 bronze medalists and I already knew what was going to happen with the Top 24 (except for the Chris/Tim switch). I love watching the half pipe and even at when he’s playing it safe, Shaun White if fantastic to watch. Sorry AI!

  11. According to my son…..Hot girls on skis and cool guys on snowboards happened to AI last night.

  12. I think it was a combination of big stars on the olympics (Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, Shauni Davis), plus a lackluster, overlong Tuesday night that many didn’t feel was worth their time.

    Many probably figured Wednesday wasn’t a performance or voting show, would just be an extension of the “drama!!!” and “waiting!!!” from Tuesday, and that the olympics would be a better option.

  13. If Idol is still around in 2014 (or if X-Factor is competing head to head in 2012 but it shouldn’t be running in the summer), never run a show at 9 pm against the Olympics (or any other big event).

  14. The US set a record for most medals won in a single day (six) for the US — and they were all in three marquee events (women’s downhill, half-pipe and speed skating). I was watching AI when I remembered that Shaun White won, so I asked my husband to change the channel. We went back and sped-watched through AI after the Olympics coverage was done, but it was more exciting to watch the Olympics all the way around.

  15. Notice the Olympics had the lowest ratings right at 8 pm. It could turn out to be a HUGE mistake for Idol moving Wednesday’s show to 9 pm.

    I don’t get why they don’t have AI on at 8pm on Wednesday. The show is really family viewing, which fits better with 8pm, and that way Fox would have a better lead in to its new show that follows. Plus, it’s confusing to remember that Tuesday is one time and Wednesday is another.

  16. I channel surfed but spent most of the time watching the Olympics. I wanted to see Lyndsey, Apollo, and Shawn. In between I watched Criminal Minds. I’ll have to watch the full show online. It was a great one. Sorry, AI.

  17. Idol stunk on Tuesday so the fans that braved it that night pretty much said stick it and moved over to the olympics and watched some “real” talent in Shaun, and Lyndsey and Shani. Besides, so far this year Idol has been about the judges and Ryan and some really pathetic back stories and very little about the contestants abilities.

  18. MJ,

    There is no “ruh roh” required here. American Idol lost to the Olympics on a night where we had every single American athlete that people have been rooting for. We had our best Olympic day in many many years. People weren’t going to miss that.

    American Idol is still alive and perfectly healthy. Notice how strongly it beat the freaking Olympics on Tuesday night.

    There is absolutely no cause for concern whatsoever.

  19. It was Vonn, Ohno and White for me last night. Idol will be on for several weeks, but last night was a one shot deal.

  20. AI did sooo much over pimping this season, that it was all clear, who was going to make the top 24, even if one did not have access to spoilers, like we do. And thanks to my DVR, I was able to watch AI in 15 min or less, too many commercials too much pimping, quite frankly I am sick of it. I am soooo ready for the live performance shows!!!

  21. Besides, so far this year Idol has been about the judges and Ryan and some really pathetic back stories and very little about the contestants abilities.

    This year? As in, it was different last year? With Danny, the widower and Lil, the Hurricane Katrina survivor, and Bikini Girl and Normun Gentle and BSC Tatiana?

  22. Fox should have just dumped the chair episode. There were no new performances between the rooms episode and the chair episode, I doubt the judges stayed up all night “reviewing tapes”, so the decision on the Top 24 had been made before the rooms episode, and the show was just dragging out the big reveal to the point of turning people off.

  23. I switched to the Olympics during a commercial break and saw that one woman wipeout at the finish line.

  24. WE have TIVO, and recorders, so AI took a back seat to better stuff going on in the world, when the Olympics are gone, AI will be back to Number 1, or at least if they have decent people making it to the Top 12.

  25. I think it was a combination of big stars on the olympics (Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, Shauni Davis), plus a lackluster, overlong Tuesday night that many didn’t feel was worth their time.

    Yah, that.

  26. Once people tuned into the Olympics an hour before Idol, there was no turning away. It was an awesome night!

  27. yeah i was flipping back and forth…lindsay vaughn (idk if i spelled that right) won gold in downhill skiing while idol was on

  28. i watched the olympics while i was out at chilis for happy hour and started idol when i got home on dvr.

    it was a big day in vancouver, so i’m not surprised it bested idol… however, in idols defense, it was an extremely boring episode and people were probably turned off from the way the 7 were revealed in tuesday.

  29. The Olympics jumped 10 million viewers from Tuesday to Wednesday, I think it is safe to say that is where the Idol viewers went. I think ratings will be up next week, I have heard a lot of positive buzz about this season. Those who only like guy rockers are complaining, but I have seen so many people mention how they haven’t been this excited for a top 24 in years, and I think the personalities and interesting music types will bring in viewers..

  30. I think they may have done better if they stuck with the earlier time but it’s hard to compete with Sean White and Lindsay Vonn winning gold medals. We watched both with the help of our dvr.

  31. Yeah, I agree yesterday was n exited night at the olympics, Ohno, White, Von, Celski, Davis…and I’m not even an american…Shaun White was just all kind of awesome…

  32. I have no idea how these things are measured. Many families have more than one t.v.

    We had one t.v. on Idol and one t.v. on the Olympics. We probably had one tuned into Nic at Night or the Disney Channel too. lol.

    I love the Olympics! So awesome. I have a lot of faves. :)

  33. To be honest, the lead in show for Idol isn’t that good. Fox is hurting as far their winter season new shows, they are all pretty lame. This was NBC’s big night, they promoted it hard all during the day. First week of live shows goes up against woman’s figure skating, I expect them to lose the Thursday next week, the always exciting freeskate. Since they changed the rules to random draw for skate position, any of the favorites could go at anytime and not all slotted into the final hour.

  34. At least one Idol got some audio time during the Olympics this year. Here’s Elliott’s “Free” from last night’s closing NBC montage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ82K8hhDCo&feature=player_embedded

    Yay!

    (and yay for Evan L as well, who is a sweetie and a beautiful skater, although I could have lived without NBC seemingly trying to make Plushy, whom I also love, into some sort of evil Russian gangster or something in their bio piece … ahem.)

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