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CBS' 'The Amazing Race 9' premiere gets off to a slow ratings start


By Reality TV World staff, 03/07/2006 

CBS' The Amazing Race 9 got off to a bit of a slow ratings start last Tuesday, with viewers' still-lingering distaste of last season's horrific The Amazing Race: Family Edition teaming together with the final half-hour of Fox's special 90-minute American Idol performance show to result in the show's lowest premiere ratings since The Amazing Race 4 debuted in May 2003.

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Last week's February 28 premiere of The Amazing Race 9 averaged a 4.1/10 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic, a 4.9/11 in Adults 25-54, a 3.1/9 in Adults 18-34, a 6.6/10 in households, and 10.4 million overall viewers during its two-hour broadcast -- a performance that while decent enough to place the show 35th in the week's overall primetime viewership rankings, placed the debut of ninth edition of the long-running reality series in second or third place during each of the four individual half-hour periods in which it aired.

Although CBS spun the rating numbers to announce that The Amazing Race 9 "won its time period" among both the Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 demographics and finished only 250,000 viewers behind NBC in total viewers, that spin failed to note that The Amazing Race 9's premiere finished second behind Fox's American Idol/The War At Home combo in the 9PM hour and second behind NBC's Law & Order: SVU in the 10PM hour -- with The Amazing Race 9 "winning" the combined 9-11PM time period due only to the facts that NBC's Scrubs finished third in the 9PM hour and Fox doesn't broadcast any programming in the 10PM hour.

More potentially concerning for CBS than The Amazing Race 9's overall debut performance was the premiere's performance between 10-11PM, the time period that starting with tonight's broadcast of the show's second episode, will represent the show's new regular time period.

Although The Amazing Race 9's premiere picked up over a million additional viewers after Fox's American Idol performance show ended at 9:30 PM ET/PT, the show gave most of them back up at 10PM ET/PT, with second hour of the two-hour premiere averaging fewer than 10 million viewers and finishing third in the 10PM time period behind both Law & Order: SVU (13.8 million) and Boston Legal (11.2 million.) The Amazing Race 9's second hour did fair better among most key demographics however, where it finished a solid second behind SVU.

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