NBC sliding 'The Apprentice' back an hour beginning March 4
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 02/17/2007
NBC has fired Donald Trump from his time slot. Desperate to reverse The Apprentice's ongoing ratings decline, NBC has announced plans to slide The Apprentice: Los Angeles' Sunday night broadcasts back an hour.
NBC's announcement comes less than a week after The Apprentice: Los Angeles -- already getting a weekly ratings thumping from ABC's Housewives drama in its current Sundays at 9PM ET/PT time period -- set new all-timeThe Apprentice ratings lows during with a fifth episode broadcast that also faced CBS' Sunday night broadcast of the Grammy Awards.
Effective Sunday, March 4, The Apprentice: Los Angeles will begin airing at 10PM instead of its current timeslot of 9PM. Deal or No Deal, currently airing Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT in addition to its regular Mondays at 8PM ET/PT time period, will take over The Apprentice's Sundays at 9PM ET/PT time period.
Drawing the short straw in NBC's shuffle is Crossing Jordan. Crossing Jordan, currently airing in the Sundays at 10PM ET/PT that will now be occupied by The Apprentice, will now have the unenviable task of airing against the Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT broadcasts of Fox's American Idol mega-hit. Grease: You're the One That I Want will be uneffected by NBC's lineup shuffle and remain in its current Sundays at 8PM ET/PT time period.
While The Apprentice's latest scheduling move will mark the first time that the show has regularly aired in the later 10PM ET/PT time period that network's typically reserve for dramas, The Donald is no stranger to seeing his reality competition series change time periods.
The Apprentice's first season premiered on a Thursday at 8:30PM before moving to Wednesdays at 8PM -- where its third episode was crushed in the ratings by American Idol's third season premiere -- causing it to retreat back to Thursdays at 9PM. It's second season remained on Thursdays, where its premiere was the program's lowest rated Thursday episode ever at the time. But it rebounded nicely and retained its ratings success against some stiff competition.
It remained on Thursdays at 9PM -- give or take a half-hour for a few super-sized episodes -- all the way through its fifth season, when it moved to Mondays at 9PM. Then, last May, NBC announced that the sixth installment of The Apprentice would air Sundays at 9PM to serve as the anchor of network's post-Sunday Night Football lineup, which the network launched this fall.
From the beginning the strategy backfired on NBC, as The Apprentice: Los Angeles premiered to lackluster ratings as it competed against both Desperate Housewives and CBS' Without a Trace.