Winter Games help NBC win another week

Fox's 'Idol' still claims the most young-adult viewers

NBC has won a third straight week in primetime thanks to the Winter Olympics, but Fox’s three nights of “American Idol” still brought home the demo medals.

Meanwhile, as most scripted skeins remained sidelined opposite the Winter Games, the week saw more good numbers for the unscripted, led by CBS’ impressive rookie “Undercover Boss,” which stood as the frame’s top program excluding the Olympics and “Idol.”

ABC’s “The Bachelor” and CBS’ “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” also held up nicely. And following the Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies on Sunday, NBC’s preview of “The Marriage Ref” drew good numbers prior to making its regular-night bow on Thursday.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, NBC prevailed for the week of Feb. 22-28 with a 5.5 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, followed by Fox (4.1/11), CBS (2.0/5), ABC (1.9/5), Univision (1.4/4) and USA (0.9/2). The net also rolled in adults 25-54 (7.1/17) and total viewers (21.3 million to 11.0 million for runner-up Fox).

(Nielsen reported only a 20-hour average for NBC last week, as the net asked to have a half-hour from four nights of Olympics coverage excised from its ledgers because they did not include national advertising. This is done to boost its overall averages, as the removed half-hours are typically the lowest-rated each night.)

For the season, NBC has opened up a lead over fourth-place ABC in the battle for third place in 18-49 rating (2.98 to 2.67), but the Alphabet figures to beat the Peacock every week from here on out.

At the Olympics, NBC was paced in primetime last week by Friday’s coverage, which delivered a 6.5/20 in 18-49 and 24.52 million viewers overall. The week’s only telecast to draw more viewers was Sunday’s late-afternoon gold-medal Olympics hockey game between Canada and USA (27.6 million).

On Thursday, the conclusion of women’s figure skating brought the Peacock a strong 6.1/17 in 18-49 and 22.92 million viewers overall — beating “American Idol” head-to-head in total viewers.

Primetime coverage wrapped from Vancouver on Sunday, where hourlong retrospective spec “Vancouver Gold” (4.8/14 in 18-49, 17.99m) was followed by the Closing Ceremonies (5.5/14, 21.40m), which topped those from Torino in 2006 (14.8 million) by 44%.

And at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, a preview of “Marriage Ref” (4.9/14 in 18-49, 14.45m) held on to most of its Olympics demo lead-in, beating the combined 18-49 score of competing firstrun dramas on ABC and CBS.

At Fox, “American Idol” accounted for a full one-third of its sked, with two-hour editions on both Tuesday (9.0/22 in 18-49, 24.21m) and Wednesday (8.7/23, 22.96m) and the first results-show hour on Thursday (6.5/17, 18.03m). Thursday’s seg led into a special episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” (3.4/9, 7.42m), which logged the show’s second-best scores to date.

CBS made the most of its limited firstrun offerings, led by “Undercover Boss” (5.1/12 in 18-49, 15.15m), which was up week to week and again built sharply on its lead-in from “The Amazing Race 16” (3.2/8, 10.21m), which itself hit a high. Also, “Survivor” (3.7/10, 11.60m) lived up to its title by performing admirably opposite both “Idol” and “The Olympics.”

Fourth-place ABC was led by “Lost” (4.6/11 in 18-49, 9.95m) and “The Bachelor” (3.9/10, 11.27m), while “Desperate Housewives” (3.7/9, 10.89m) did OK up against the Olympics and new timeslot hotshot “Undercover Boss” but still matched a series low.

At CW, “One Tree Hill” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.23m) was above its recent level with its winter finale. Net will start airing more original programming over the next week, including the return of “90210,” “Melrose Place” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

USA led primetime cable, thanks to potent performers like “WWE Raw” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.57m) and “Burn Notice” (1.6/5, 4.50m).

Week’s other top cable series perfs in demos belonged to MTV’s “16 and Pregnant 2” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.10m) and Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Orange County” (1.4/4, 2.34m).

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