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NBC moves second 'The Apprentice' episode to Thursday after 'Friends'

By Reality TV World staff, 01/12/2004 

NBC has announced that due to the incredible ratings that The Apprentice premiere drew last Thursday when airing after Friends, the second episode of the hit reality show will now air Thursday, January 15 (8:30-9:30 PM ET) followed by “Will & Grace” at 9:30 PM.

Previously scheduled to move to its normal Wednesday 8PM ET timeslot beginning Wednesday, January 14, the network has announced that a rebroadcast one-hour version of the last week's episode The Apprentice will now air during that time.

“We couldn’t be happier with the successful preview of The Apprentice,” said Zucker. “The potency of the Friends lead-in, combined with the dynamic contestants and Donald Trump, demonstrated that this show has major potential and we want to expose it to even more viewers by airing it again on Thursday.”

Hopefully Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett had previously received some assurance from the network that they would not permanently broadcast the program during any part of the Thursday 8-9 PM hour, otherwise, given the strong premiere performance, NBC might very well opt to keep the program in the 8:30-9:30PM slot and utilize it as counter-programming to Burnett's original smash hit reality show -- CBS's Survivor -- the long-awaited All-Star edition of which begins in February.

Last week's special Thursday preview of the show scored the highest adult 18-49 rating and overall viewer total for any preview or premiere of any new television series in the past year, according in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.

From 8:37-9:59 PM ET, The Apprentice (9.1 rating, 22 share among adults 18-49, 18.5 million viewers overall) achieved the highest new series preview/premiere numbers since the debut of Joe Millionaire on January 6, 2003. In the three-and-a-half years since the May 2000 premiere of Survivor, the only reality series to debut to higher 18-49 ratings than The Apprentice were Big Brother (following a highly rated episode of Survivor) and Joe Millionaire. The Apprentice outperformed NBC’s 18-49 time-period average this season by 47 percent (9.1 versus 6.2), generating NBC’s highest rating in the time period since premiere week.

NBC Research estimated that 27.8 million viewers watched all or some of The Apprentice premiere.

The Apprentice is a 15-episode unscripted drama in which 16 candidates from all walks of life, including both Ivy League MBA graduates and street entrepreneurs with no college education, will endure rigorous tasks each week while living together in a hip Manhattan loft apartment. The tasks test their intelligence, chutzpah and street-smarts. They face the challenges of living in close quarters and must complete sometimes humorous, but always difficult, job assignments and will be forced to think outside the box in order to outshine each other to get to the top.

The Apprentice is produced by Mark Burnett Productions in association with Trump Productions LLC. Mark Burnett and Donald Trump are executive producers. Burnett is represented by Conrad Riggs who will also serve as a producer on the project.

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