Fox's The Next Joe Millionaire opened with a thud in the ratings. Did the numbers improve once baseball ended and Fox added a second weekly episode? Unfortunately for Fox, no.

ADVERTISEMENT reports that the Monday edition of The Next Joe Millionaire drew a stunningly poor 2.5 rating/7 share in its second week, meaning that the total viewing audience for the show ranked #1 overall in the 2002-03 TV season actually dropped from 6.7 million in Week 1 to 5.9 million in Week 2. NBC's Fear Factor, also on Monday night, once again crushed JoeM 2, with a 5.7 rating/15 share and a total audience of 13.3 million -- more than double its competitor's total audience.

If Fox hoped JoeM 2 would do better in its Tuesday slot -- especially since it was being followed by the third-season premiere of Fox's smash hit 24 -- it was quickly disabused of that notion. reports that the first Tuesday showing, which was Episode 3 of JoeM 2, managed only a 5.3 rating/7 share (the same share size as Monday) -- placing it merely 4th in the 8-9 PM EST timeslot among the six networks. However, its weak performance barely hurt 24, which still placed first in the 9-10 PM EST time slot.

As we noted before, the ratings collapse of JoeM 2 parallels the collapse of a previous show from the same producers: Temptation Island, which was a smash in its first version and a ratings disaster in its second and third incarnations. In fact, we wonder if Fox is now regretting its decision to drop American Juniors from the fall schedule. We'll see if JoeM 2 picks up any momentum now that viewers have had a chance to become familiar with the international beauties looking for love with a pseudo-rich rodeo cowboy.