NBC flips its 'The Apprentice: Martha Stewart' ratings flop to Wednesdays versus 'Lost'
By Reality TV World staff, 10/04/2005
Don't look now, but it appears as though NBC has given up on its heavily promoted The Apprentice: Martha Stewart spinoff series.
After delivering weak ratings in its first two weekly broadcasts, NBC has quietly announced that it is moving the Wednesday night series back an hour to 9PM ET/PT -- a death knell move that will pit the already struggling series against ABC's Lost megahit.
Although highly promoted, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart debuted weakly on September 21. The show finished second in its time period among total viewers, but it was a distant second, with The Apprentice: Martha Stewart's 7.1 million viewers trailing far behind the 15.3 million viewers who watched Destination Lost, a first season recap that proceeded the 9PM ET/PT premiere of the hit ABC show's second season. The Apprentice: Martha Stewart's premiere fared even worse among the younger viewers that advertisers (and therefore networks) prize, delivering a 2.3/7 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic, a figure that ranked third in its hour behind both Destination Lost and Fox's So You Think You Can Dance reality series.
"The numbers are clearly not where we wanted them to be with the premiere," NBC spokesman Jeff DeRome told Reuters after Martha Stewart premiered. "But the competitive landscape was an unusual one, and you've got to hang in there."
However, this being the cutthroat world of Hollywood, even a commitment to "hang in there" apparently doesn't mean much (particularly during the critical fall launch season), and after last week's second Martha Stewart episode delivered even worse ratings than its premiere (6.1 million viewers, a 2.1/6 among Adults 18-49), NBC decided to juggle its Wednesday night lineup, moving Martha Stewart back an hour to 9PM ET/PT and E-Ring, the hour's previous occupant, up an hour into Martha Stewart's former time period.
Although E-Ring has been panned by most critics and delivered poor ratings while airing its first two episodes against Lost (which has so far delivered even bigger ratings in than last year), NBC hopes that the move will give the military drama a better chance to catch on with viewers.
As for The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, although NBC publicly claims that it thinks that flipping the two shows will provide both of them with a better chance of success, given that the scheduling change moves The Apprentice spinoff up against ABC's newest megahit (so far Lost ranks behind only CSI and Desperate Housewives in the new season's viewership rankings), it appears that NBC has decided to all but write off the series and give up any hope that it will significantly rebound. In other words, Martha, you're fired -- enjoy your severance package.