NBC's Sochi Olympics prime-time coverage featuring figure skating, freestyle skiing, speed skating and skeleton pulled in an average of 22.9 million viewers Thursday, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen.
That's down 9% from the comparable night of the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada, which were covered live. In the advertiser-preferred 18-49 age group, Thursday night's coverage earned a rating of 5.9, down 17% from four years ago. A ratings point equals about 1.3 million viewers in the 18-49 category.
Though the Games' ratings were down from Vancouver's, they easily beat everything else. Fox came in second place in the key demographic, averaging a 2.0 rating, while CBS, safely in rerun mode, came in second in total viewers (7 million).
Fox's "American Idol," fell a tenth of a point from last week to a 2.9. Numbers for "Idol" tend to rise slightly in the final Nielsens, so it may turn out to match last week's Thursday episode when it faced "bonus" Olympics coverage. The new Greg Kinnear legal series "Rake" was flat with last week in 18-49, at a 1.1.
ABC's only original programming was "The Taste," generating a 0.9 in 18-49, down 10% week-to-week. CW had repeats of "The Originals" and "Arrow."