American Idol still beat the Olympics handily head to head at 8-9. But that head start did not prove to be enough.
NBC won its first night of Olympics up against Idol on Fox, averaging a 7.5/18 in the Nielsen overnight numbers to Fox's 6.6/16. NBC was powered by the ladies ice skating final at 10-11, when it averaged a 10/25.
By contrast, Idol ruled at 8-9, with a 9.8/24 to NBC's 4.5/11. Fox's own skating show, a repeat of Skating with Celebrities kept some of that Idol audience, with a 4.2/10 at 9-9:30, only to hit the ice hard, falling to a 2.7/6 in its second half hour.
CBS and ABC duked it out for third, with CBS ahead by a tenth of a rating point and one share point at a 4.8/12, at least in the preliminary returns, which do not include some West Coast numbers.
CBS' top show was Survivor at 8-9, which came in second to Idol and ahead of Olympics at a 5.5/14. ABC go some good numbers out of its last tango, at least competitionwise, with this arc of Dancing with the Stars. While it only averaged a 3.7/9 at 8-9, once Survivor and Idol were out of the way, it jumped to a 6.2/15 for the final hour.
Univision had a strong showing with a 2.6/6 for fifth place with its airing of the Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina Latin Music awards show.
The WB recorded a 1/3 for a movie, Just Married, while UPN nothced a .8/2 for an all-repeat sitcom lineup.