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Fox's 'American Idol' back on top over NBC's Olympic coverage

February 24, 2010 | 10:07 am

All is normal in the world again as Fox's "American Idol" beat NBC's Olympic coverage Tuesday night in the ratings race.

After losing last Wednesday to the Olympics, the first time in six years that "American Idol" lost, the talent show made a strong comeback. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fox averaged almost 24 million viewers and a 8.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic (each rating point in that demographic equals 1.3 million viewers). NBC averaged 20.8 million viewers and a 5.05 rating in the 18-49 demographic going head-to-head against "American Idol," and overall had 21.2 million viewers and a 5.4 rating in the demographic.

While the Olympics were back in second place last night, NBC points out that it has closed the gap with "American Idol" from the 2006 Winter Games. On Thursday, NBC will have women's free skate against "American Idol."

"'American Idol' deserves applause. It's an absolute juggernaut that went undefeated for six years and is now 223-1; we are just happy to be the 1," said NBC Sports Senior Vice President Mike McCarley.

-- Joe Flint