American Idol beats the Olympics by more than 10.5 million viewers

Raw athleticism faced off against raw, sometimes fetid, musical talent on Tuesday night, and talent won. American Idol 5 was watched by 26.6 million people, compared to 16.1 million who watched the Olympics on NBC. That’s “the biggest advantage any competing net has had over an Olympics network since at least 1992, according to Nielsen data,” Variety reports.

To be fair, Olympic coverage is spread over 1,251 networks in the NBC family, so perhaps the audience was fragmented. Also not helping: NBC’s continual efforts to push viewers away, like the hour of bullshit they showed Friday night which delayed the start of the actual opening ceremony to after 9 p.m., instead of the announced 8 p.m.

FOX’s show was hurt slightly, dropping 12 percent last week, but “Fox still beat the combined 18-49 averages of the other five broadcasters from 8 to 9 (11.2 to 10.5),” according to Variety.

‘Idol’ runs rings around Olympics [Variety]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.