NBC's 'The Apprentice: Los Angeles' debuts to lackluster ratings
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 01/09/2007
Depending on how you want to look at it, there was good news and bad news in the ratings numbers for NBC's premiere of Donald Trump's The Apprentice: Los Angeles.
Airing against significantly tougher Desperate Housewives and Without a Trace competition than last spring's The Apprentice 5 faced on Monday nights, Sunday night's special 90-minute premiere of The Apprentice's sixth season averaged 9.1 million overall viewers and an 4.1/10 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic, according to "live plus same day" in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.
While the Adults 18-49 figure represented a 5% increase over last February's premiere of The Apprentice's fifth edition, the total viewers figure was roughly 600,000 viewers fewer than the show's fifth season debut -- a number that, despite the increased ABC and CBS competition, probably wasn't exactly the ratings rebound that NBC was hoping for after deciding to put the show on a seven-month hiatus.
Although The Apprentice: Los Angeles' premiere ratings also dropped significantly from its Grease: You're the One That I Want lead-in, there was some additional good news for the show.
The special 90-minute premiere (the show will air regularly from 9-10PM beginning next week) did grow its numbers throughout its broadcast -- particularly at 10PM once ABC's Housewives ended. From its first half-hour to its third, the episode built by 25% in the Adults 18-49 demographic, from a 3.6/8 rating/share to a 4.5/11 rating/share, and by 10% in overall viewers, from 8.6 million to 9.5 million.
While The Apprentice: Los Angeles came in a distant third in the Adults 18-49 demographic during its first half-hour (behind Housewives and Fox's Family Guy), it recovered during its second half-hour (despite an unplanned late afternoon NFL football broadcast overrun that kept Fox's primetime schedule on past 10PM ET/PT in many markets) and finished a close second behind only ABC's Brothers & Sisters
Although The Apprentice's final half-hour still finished third among total viewers, it won the 10:30-11PM ET/PT time period in several key demographics, including Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, Men 18-49, Men 18-34, Men 25-54, and Men 12-17. Overall, The Apprentice generated NBC's highest non-sports rating in the time period since November 6, 2005.
Last season's The Apprentice 5 averaged 9.9 million viewers during its twelve episode Monday night run.