Fox wins over NBC's waning Olympics coverage

Fox’s “American Idol” continues to reassert itself against NBC’s waning Winter Olympics coverage, easily winning in primetime Wednesday for the second consecutive night.

“Idol” (8.6 rating/23 share in 18-49, 22.8 million viewers overall) virtually duplicated its Tuesday night numbers, when it topped the Olympics despite the presentation of the women’s figure skating short program. With no new figure skating Wednesday, the Olympics slid to 5.2/14, 19.5 million between 8-11 p.m. “Idol” had 76% more viewers in the demo from 8-10 p.m. than the Olympics, which fell 42% compared to a week earlier.

Not surprisingly, the Olympics dominated at 10 p.m. after “Idol” was over, ahead of reruns of CBS’ CSI: NY (1.7/5, 7.9 million) and two ABC “Cougar Town” halfhours (1.3/3, 3.0 million for the pair). The Vancouver games remain ahead of the 2006 Torino Games in 18-49 and overall.

On a night with no firstrun scripted programming, CBS did the best at

9 p.m. with “Criminal Minds” (1.8/4, 7.3 million). That bested ABC’s “Modern Family” (1.7/4, 4.5 million) and “The Middle” (1.4/3, 3.5 million), along with an anemic “Gossip Girl” (0.2/1, 0.6 million) on the CW.

At 8 p.m., earlier airings of “Modern Family” (1.2/3, 3.9 million) and “The Middle” (1.4/4, 4.0 million) topped CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (1.1/3, 4.4 million) and “Gary Unmarried” (0.9/2, 3.4 million). The CW’s “Life Unexpected” (0.4/1, 1.0 million) also struggled.

Preliminary 18-49 averages: Fox 8.6/23, NBC 5.2/14, CBS 1.5/4, ABC 1.4/4, Univision 1.3/4, CW 0.4/1.

In total viewers: Fox 22.8 million, NBC 19.5 million, CBS 6.3 million, ABC 3.7 million, Univision 3.5 million, CW 1.1 million.

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