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‘Idol’ wins over Olympics in ratings race

'Lost' remains solid despite big competition

For a second straight Tuesday, a two-hour edition of Fox’s “American Idol” crushed NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in key demos. While Fox and NBC were the top-rated networks, ABC also had reason to cheer as “Lost” remained solid despite the extra competition.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” averaged an 8.9 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 24 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., peaking in its final half-hour with a 9.3/21 in the demo and 24.7 million viewers overall. The expanded installment, in which the 12 female finalists performed, was down a bit week to week and year-to-year, but beat the Olympics head-to-head by 78% in the 18-49 demo and by more than 3 million total viewers.

The Vancouver Games, meanwhile, have slowed down some in the ratings, as Tuesday’s delivery repped the second straight night that it had underperformed the comparable evening from Torino four years ago. Still, it was a strong silver-medal finish for NBC on the night, and it especially dominated the 10 p.m.-post “American Idol” hour (6.1/17 in 18-49, 22.1 million viewers overall).

At ABC, a repeat “Lost” at 8 p.m. (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) was followed by the original episode at 9 (4.6/11 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), which was up a tad week to week and again beat the Olympics head-to-head in adults 18-34 (4.3/11 to 3.9/10). Closing out the night was original drama “The Forgotten” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall).

CBS didn’t do much with its regular-lineup repeats of “NCIS” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall), “NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.9/4 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) and “The Good Wife” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall).

And how poorly is CW performing on the night with repeats? “Melrose Place” somehow manage to deliver a 0 share in 18-49 and total viewers; originals of the rookie show return March 9.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 8.9/22; NBC, 5.4/14; ABC, 2.6/7; CBS, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.3/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 24.0 million; NBC, 21.2 million; CBS, 9.1 million; ABC, 6.5 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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