American Idol beats Olympic skating as Survivor has its lowest-rated night ever

Last night, the showdown on the major networks led to a victory for FOX’s behemoth American Idol 5, which was watched by 23.5 million viewers. The Olympic figure skating competition, by comparison, was watched by 17.7 million people.

Both of the other reality shows airing at the same time, Survivor Panama and Dancing with the Stars, were watched by 14.8 million viewers each. As a result, “the three unscripted series all delivered their lowest scores of the season in the 8 o’clock hour,” according to Variety.

While Dancing averaged 17.7 million viewers over its entire two hours, Survivor only aired directly opposite Idol, and thus there was bad news: last night’s episode had “the smallest audience ever for an original episode of the long-running game,” the AP reports.

‘Idol,’ Olympics top Thursday [Variety]
‘American Idol’ skates circles around Olympics [AP]
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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, 37, 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.