February 18, 2010 / 5:45 PM / 10 years ago

NBC Olympics ousts "Idol" from TV ratings throne

Shani Davis of the U.S. races to win the gold medal in the men's 1000 metres speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 17, 2010. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC’s coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics beat “American Idol” on Wednesday, ending a six-year unbeaten streak for the Fox television ratings juggernaut, according to early audience figures on Thursday.

Nielsen Media figures showed that 30.1 million Americans watched the NBC action from Vancouver in the 9-10 pm hour on Wednesday, compared to 18.4 million who watched the “American Idol” TV singing competition on Fox at that time.

It’s the first time that “American Idol”, now in its 9th season, has been beaten in U.S. TV audience ratings since May 2004.

Wednesday’s Olympic action saw Americans capture six medals and featured top favorites such as skier Lindsey Vonn, snow boarder Shaun White and speed skater Shani Davis who all won gold.

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