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Olympics skate past 'Idol'

For those of you who have been following the head-to-head battles between the Olympics on NBC and "American Idol" on Fox . . .

1. You have far too much time on your hands.

2. The Vancouver Olympics improved its record to 2-3 by outdrawing "Idol," 19.2 million viewers to 17.8 million from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

NBC Sports sent a long quote about all this from chairman Dick Ebersol. Here it is:

"I never thought we would have the good fortune to beat the incredibly well-produced and enduring phenomenon of 'American Idol' even once. But twice?

"At best, I deeply believed we might come a little closer than we did four years ago because the show is such a powerhouse. We are happy to rent 'Idol’s' space for a few nights.

"All the thanks goes to the athletes of the world who give us these great stories to tell. Their stories are the stars of our show -- and led to these two ‘miracles’ -- just as the young entertainers are the stars of 'Idol.'"

The 8 to 9 hour actually was NBC's least-viewed of the night. The network averaged 22.9 million for the night, traditionally one of the highest-rated of the Games because it included women's figure skating's long program.

The 22.9 million was down from 25.7 million four years ago - the best night of the Turin Games, which featured American figure skater Sasha Cohen.

New York Sports