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NBC pulls 'The Restaurant' from its May sweeps schedule, series to return in June

By Reality TV World staff, 05/17/2004 

NBC has discovered that not everything reality TV uber-producer Mark Burnett touches magically turns to gold.

Halfway through its six-episode second season run, NBC has pulled the Survivor and Apprentice producer's The Restaurant series from its schedule for the remainder of the Nielsen May sweeps period due to low ratings. Crossing Jordan and Law & Order: SVU repeats will fill the Monday 10PM ET/PT time period for the balance of the month.

The Restaurant will return to the NBC schedule on Wednesday, June 9 at 9PM ET/PT as part of the network's summertime reality programming slate. Restarting the from the beginning, The Restaurant's June 9 "re-premiere" will join NBC's previously announced premieres of For Love Or Money 3 on June 7, Last Comic Standing 2 on June 8, Who Wants to Marry My Dad 2 on June 14 , and Next Action Star on June 15.

NBC's move isn't surprising considering the short-season series' ratings struggles and the network's obsession with sweeps ratings. The Restaurant's second season premiere, which launched a season that has centered around chef Rocco DiSpirito's legal battles with financial partner Geoffrey Chodorow, struggled in the ratings, drawing only 6.5 million overall viewers on April 19. Its ratings improved modestly during its second and third broadcasts, however the numbers were still disappointingly below those drawn during last summer's initial season, which averaged 7.8 million viewers while airing on Sundays at 10PM ET/PT during the historically slower summer viewing season.

The Restaurant's ratings performance was also well below that of the reality show that previously occupied NBC's Mondays 10PM ET/PT timeslot, its Average Joe franchise. Premiering in November, Average Joe aired three different installments in the time period. The editions, all of which were considered successfully, premiered to anywhere between 9.6 million and 11.2 million viewers.

While both media outlets and the networks themselves have been positioning Burnett as a reality titan with the Midas touch as a result of the simultaneous ratings success of this winter's The Apprentice and Survivor: All-Stars, like all other producers, Burnett has also experienced his share of ratings disappointments. Fresh off Survivor's initial Summer 2000 success, he produced Combat Missions, a Survivor-like competition series which starred former military and police force members, in 2001. Despite heavy promotion by USA Networks, the program's broadcaster, the show was not renewed for a second season. Last summer, The WB network also aired Boarding House: North Shore, a show that Burnett helped produce and edit despite the program having been filmed without his involvement, to disappointing ratings.

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