NBC Olympic host Bob Costas called Wednesday night's six-medal performance by the American Olympic team a "historic night."
The gold medal wins by skiier Lindsey Vonn, snowboarder Shaun White and speedskater Shani Davis propelled local NBC affiliate Channel 2 to its highest-ratings since the Vancouver opening ceremonies.
The silver medal won by skier Julia Mancuso and the bronze medals won by speedskater Chad Hedrick and snowboarder Scotty Lago also helped Channel 2 average a 17.3 rating (NBC had a 19.3 in the 55 metered markets nationally).
Channel 2 had the same 17.3 rating opposite the hour in which Fox's "American Idol" announced the rest of the final field of 24. "Idol" averaged an 11.7 on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, slightly below the 12.3 that "Idol" had in the metered markets. (NBC had a 19.8 rating in the metered markets for the hour opposite "Idol").
The 17.3 rating and the win over "Idol" -- which beat the Olympics the night before -- is impressive. But it is only what Channel 2 estimated it would average in prime time throughout the games.
It also could be as good as it gets for Channel 2 since it will be difficult to get another night as historic as Wednesday.
Still, Wednesday's performance could give NBC some much-needed momentum going into tonight's men's figure skating final, which features American Evan Lysacek.
-- Alan Pergament