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CBS moves 'The Amazing Race 9' again... to Wednesdays at 8PM


By Reality TV World staff, 03/31/2006 

CBS has announced that after exiling The Amazing Race to the Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT time period earlier this month, the show will now move to Wednesdays at 8PM ET/PT (the third regular time period the show has had this season) effective immediately.

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After four weeks in the Tuesday 10PM ET/PT time period, The Amazing Race 9's sixth episode will air Wednesday, April 5 at 8PM ET/PT. The Amazing Race 9 had debuted with a special two-hour 9PM premiere on Tuesday, February 28.

Prior to this season's moves, The Amazing Race had aired in the Tuesday 9PM ET/PT period since The Amazing Race 6, the Fall 2004 edition that followed the Summer 2004 fifth Race edition that is generally credited with saving the previously critically-acclaimed but ratings-challenged series from cancellation.

Although The Amazing Race 9's Tuesday 10PM broadcasts have won or tied for the lead in their time period among the Adults 18-49 demographic, the season's overall viewership numbers have been below those of last fall's unpopular The Amazing Race: Family Edition. In addition to the facts that network viewership tends to drop off in the 10PM hour and the later hour appeared to be an obviously poor fit for a show that had just finished airing a "family edition" that recognized the show's popularity as family programming, The Amazing Race 9 had faced two well-established dramas in the hour, Law & Order: SVU and Boston Legal.

After premiering to 10.6 million viewers, The Amazing Race: Family Edition averaged 10.8 million viewers a broadcast during its eleven episode run in the Tuesday 9PM time period. While The Amazing Race 9's two-hour premiere averaged 10.4 million viewers, its numbers have declined in the later 10PM hour, with the show's four 10PM broadcasts averaging about 9.5 million viewers an episode. In the meantime, CBS' Tuesday 9PM ratings have soared, with The Unit, the time period's new occupant, averaging over 17 million viewers an episode (far better numbers than The Amazing Race ever drew in the hour) since it took over the timeslot on March 7.

Compared to previous editions, The Amazing Race 9's ratings are also down significantly among the all-important Adults 18-49 demographic. The Amazing Race 9's first five episodes are down 8% from the already disappointing numbers of the first five episodes of last fall's The Amazing Race: Family Edition and huge 22% from the Adults 18-49 numbers of the first five episodes of last spring's record-setting The Amazing Race 7.

Despite the lingering damage that last fall's widely panned family edition has clearly evoked on The Amazing Race's ratings, CBS still appears to be strongly committed to the three-time Emmy Award-winning reality series. Earlier this month, the network announced that it had ordered two more Race editions for broadcast during the 2006-2007 television season.

The Amazing Race 9 will take over the Wednesday time period most recently occupied by Out Of Practice and Courting Alex, two CBS sitcoms that had averaged fewer than seven million viewers since moving into the time period two weeks ago. While Fox's American Idol 5 broadcasts had dominated the time period when it aired in the hour prior to the beginning of its finals, ABC, CBS, and NBC's decisions to intentionally get out of the way of the Fox juggernaut have resulted in a now largely wide-open Idol-less Wednesday 8PM timeslot. Fox's Bones and a second edition of NBC's Deal Or Not Deal have emerged as the timeslot's strongest shows since Idol's results show began airing in the later 9PM time period, but neither is an Idol-like threat to dominate the timeslot. According to CBS, Out Of Practice and Courting Alex will return to the network "at a later date."

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