NFL tackles Trump for a loss as new 'Apprentice' premiere draws lowest Thursday ratings ever
By Reality TV World staff, 09/13/2004
The National Football League might have finally succeeded in getting Donald Trump to stop doing something that, despite numerous correction attempts, the press couldn't -- namely get the self-promoting Donald to stop (incorrectly) referring to The Apprentice as "the number one show on television."
According to Nielsen national ratings information for Thursday, September 9 published by Daily Variety, The Apprentice 2's special 82-minute premiere was the program's lowest rating Thursday episode ever, drawing only 14.05 million viewers -- a significant drop-off from the 18.55 million viewers that tuned in to see the 8:00-8:38PM ET/PT premiere of former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc's Joey spin-off.
The program also saw a similar drop-off in the Adults 18-49 demographic prized by advertisers, averaging only a 6.6 rating/17 share in the demo -- a figure that represented a 35% decline from last season's 10.1/25 average.
NBC executives are no doubt hoping that the ratings decline will be a momentary blip that can attributed to a special Thursday ABC broadcast of the NFL's season opener between the New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts, and the figures do appear to support that theory. Despite losing to ABC's football broadcast in both viewers (16.69 million) Adults 18-49 (7.2/21), The Apprentice 2 did win its time period among all female demographics and Adults 18-34.
Assuming NBC is correct, airing versus a repeat of CBS' hit CSI series, this week's second The Apprentice 2 broadcast should rebound sharply... and perhaps even resume last season's status as the seventh-ranked program on television. Just don't try telling that to The Donald. After all, according to the master spinmeister, the upcoming bankruptcy filing of his Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts is just a "recapitalization plan" that will allow him to build a new $300 million Las Vegas hotel and cost him $55 million dollars to maintain his minority stake in the properties.