The opening nights of the Winter Olympics have vaulted NBC to a rare gold-medal weekly finish.
The Peacock dominated Friday, Saturday and Sunday to post its biggest frame since airing the Super Bowl more than a year ago. Its winning perf overshadowed a strong week from CBS and a good start to the frame for Fox, whose “American Idol” keeps chugging along.
Overall, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, NBC led the Feb. 8-14 sesh in adults 18-49 with a 4.7 rating/13 share, followed by Fox (3.6/10), CBS (2.9/8), ABC (2.2/6), Univision (1.4/4) and TNT (1.1/3).
NBC also led in adults 25-54 (5.7/14 to a 4.1/10 for runner-up Fox), persons 12-34 (3.3/10 to 2.8/9 for Fox) and total viewers (16.1 million to 10.6 million for CBS).
The Opening Ceremonies from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games on Friday ranked as the week’s No. 3 telecast in adults 18-49 (9.0/27) and No. 1 in total viewers (32.64 million). And when competition began on Saturday, NBC drew a larger overall aud (26.19 million) than any night from Torino in 2006.
Through five nights (including Monday and Tuesday of this week), the Vancouver Games were averaging 26.4 million viewers — 22%, or 4.8 million viewers, ahead of Torino (21.6 million).
On the entertainment side for NBC, “The Biggest Loser” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 8.89m) remained strong opposite brutal competish, and second-year Thursday comedy “Parks and Recreation” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 4.98m) matched or set season highs in several categories.
At Fox, the Hollywood round of “American Idol” gave the show a bit of a boost, dominating both Tuesday (10.1/26 in 18-49, 27.89m) and Wednesday (9.5/23, 25.17m).
Also, “House” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 13.60m) was on the high side and delivered the week’s top 18-49 score for a scripted hour.
Among new shows, Wednesday’s pre-“Idol” drama “Human Target” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.91m) grew a bit from its timeslot premiere of the previous week, but Thursday’s “Past Life” looked shaky in its regular-slot debut (1.4/4, 5.31m).
CBS started the week with a bang, as “The Big Bang Theory” hit series highs (6.0/14 in 18-49, 16.26m), airing behind “Two and a Half Men” (5.7/14, 17.66m), which logged its best demo score in three years.
The Eye also had a strong week in reality, including year-to-year gains for the premieres of vets “Survivor” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 14.15m) and “The Amazing Race” (2.8/7, 9.00m), with the former’s “Heroes vs. Villains” edition producing the franchise’s largest overall audience since December 2007.
Even better news came Sunday when “Undercover Boss” (5.2/13 in 18-49, 15.45m) had a potent preem in its regular timeslot one week after drawing monster numbers following the Super Bowl. Despite airing opposite the Olympics, it delivered the timeslot’s best regular-series score since November 2004.
And in drama, highlights included some of the best scores yet for Tuesday rookies “NCIS: Los Angeles” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 17.91m) and “The Good Wife” (3.1/9, 14.75m) and Thursday sophomore “The Mentalist” (3.7/10, 15.86m). Latter hit a season high in adults 25-54 (5.0/13) and beat ABC’s competing “Private Practice” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 9.04m) by its biggest margins to date.
ABC was strong in spots prior to the start of the Olympics, including “The Bachelor” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 12.35m) and “Castle” (2.5/7, 9.54m), which drew the net’s best regular-program demos of the season.
Also of note, “Lost” (5.0/12, 11.05m) held up well in its second week back, and Wednesday’s comedy combo of “The Middle” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 7.83m) and “Modern Family” (4.1/10, 9.83m) teamed for their best showing to date.
CW was led as usual by “The Vampire Diaries” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.51m). “Smallville” on Friday (1.0/3, 2.48m) seemed unfazed by the Olympic competish.
TNT moved to the cable lead thanks to Sunday’s “NBA East-West All-Star Game” (2.9/8, 6.85m) and the “NBA All-Star Saturday Night” (2.4/7, 5.44m); latter was the second-most-watched night in the event’s 25-year history.