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Ratings: Third 'The Apprentice' episode gets crushed in 'American Idol' matchup


By Reality TV World staff, 01/22/2004 

So much for those reality show ratings records that the second episode of NBC's The Apprentice set last week.

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Not only did Monday's third season premiere of FOX's American Idol shatter Apprentice's recent record Adults 18-49 performance, but airing directly against Apprentice's first broadcast in its normal Wednesdays 8 PM time period, a special 8PM ET broadcast of Idol destroyed Apprentice in the ratings, drawing more than twice as many total viewers.

While the third epsiode broadcast of The Apprentice achieved NBC's highest Adults 18-49 rating with regular programming in the Wednesday 8 PM ET hour in almost three years (since March 28, 2001), according to updated in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research, the program still placed a distant second to FOX's American Idol broadcast in all key metrics.

Apprentice drew 12.3 million overall viewers and a 4.9 rating, 12 share in the Adults 18-49 demographic, a steep drop from the monster 20.2 million overall viewers and a 10.0/25 rating/share numbers that last Thursday's post-Friends episode drew. In comparison, similar to Monday's performance, Wednesday's Idol broadcast reportedly drew over 29 million viewers as the FOX juggernaut concluded its three-day ratings rampage.

On the bright side for NBC, Apprentice's performance was still enough to score a dramatic 63% improvement versus NBC's season average in the slot (4.9 vs. 3.0) while in total viewers, The Apprentice was up 43% versus NBC's time period average (12.3 vs. 8.6 million). Additionally, Apprentice was second in its time period in virtually all key ratings measures and did manange to grow by an impressive 23% from its first half-hour to its second.

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