'24' and NFL football tackle 'Grease' and 'Apprentice' for a ratings loss
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/18/2007
A NFL playoff game and the long-anticipated return of Fox's 24 proved to be a toxic combination for NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want and The Apprentice: Los Angeles this past Sunday night, as both shows saw their second week ratings slip significantly from their previous week's premiere numbers.
When the second episode of Grease aired Sunday on NBC beginning at 8PM ET/PT, the AFC divisional playoff between the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers was nearing its exciting conclusion on CBS in many markets and the sixth season of 24 was premiering nationwide on Fox, so the NBC reality competition series saw only 8.2 million viewers tune in, 3.4 million fewer viewers than its debut.
Grease's second episode also scored only a 2.8/6 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic, while its debut scored a 4.3/10 rating/share among the same group of viewers. Despite the Sunday night ratings slip, NBC ordered two additional live episodes of Grease on Wednesday, bringing its total episode count to 11.
CBS' east and central time zone stations had transitioned from football to an original episode of its popular 60 Minutes news magazine program by the time The Apprentice: Los Angeles' second episode began airing, but Jack Bauer was just getting warmed-up on Fox's second hour of 24. The Apprentice's second episode averaged only 7.3 million viewers -- a sharp decline from the 9.1 million viewers that the show's previous week premiere averaged. Like Grease before it, The Apprentice scored a 2.8/6 rating/share among Adults 18-49 -- a fact that was not lost on NBC, which stated yesterday that the series "retained 100% of its 18-49 lead-in from Grease."
Similar to Grease and The Apprentice, NBC's 7PM broadcast of its popular Deal or No Deal game show also struggled against the Patriots/Chargers football game. The broadcast averaged only 9.2 million viewers and a 2.4/6 rating/share among Adults 18-49.
CBS' broadcast of the NFL playoffs averaged 34.22 million viewers from 8-8:30PM ET, and Fox's 24 averaged 15.8 million viewers from 8PM until 10PM ET/PT. While the two-hour 24 telecast was a one-time special broadcast of the show's season premiere (24 normally airs on Mondays at 9PM ET/PT, last season's The Apprentice time period), football will be back this Sunday on CBS with the AFC Conference Championship Game. If it's any consolation, CBS' Patriots/Chargers matchup was the most watched television broadcast of the 2006-2007 season... until American Idol quickly knocked it from that perch with its sixth season premiere on Tuesday night.