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Olympics tune out 'Idol'

Pending official numbers this afternoon, it appears the Olympics at last have ended the six-year, 222-episode ratings winning streak "American Idol" had had over direct competition in its time slot.

After losing to "Idol" in the ratings race Tuesday night, a huge day for American Olympic stars Wednesday lifted NBC over Fox from 9 to 10 p.m. Sports Business Daily reported NBC won in 53 of 55 markets.

That hour featured the tape-delayed women's downhill, won hours earlier by Lindsey Vonn.

The delay sparked a predictable firestorm of complaints on blogs and Twitter.

Look, I'm a journalist and a sports fan, so I feel your pain. But it's funny that avid sports fans often claim they don't care about the Olympics, then blast NBC for presenting the Games as a packaged prime-time program for non-traditional fans.

This strategy, maddening as it is, clearly works for the Peacocks, who are not about to change it.

The obvious compromise would appear to be showing major events as they happen, then offering the highlights in prime time for people unable or unwilling to watch during the day.

I have a feeling that is the approach ESPN/ABC will employ if it secures rights to the Games of 2014 and '16.

One thing I don't get about NBC's prime time approach, this year as well as during my past two Olympics on the media beat:

Why not have host Bob Costas offer a roundup each night of events shown on other NBC-owned channels?

That would give people who prefer to get all of their Olympic news on NBC a better sense of what else is going on in and around Vancouver.

Hockey, for example.

Photo: AP

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