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Second 'The Apprentice' episode sets reality ratings records, draws 20.2 million viewers


By Reality TV World staff, 01/17/2004 

It's official -- Survivor producer Mark Burnett and NBC appear to have a new breakout smash hit reality television show on their hands as the second episode of The Apprentice set several "all-time" reality programming ratings records.

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According to updated in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research. airing from 8:32-9:29 PM ET, the second original episode of The Apprentice drew 20.2 million overall viewers and a 10.0 rating, 25 share among the all-important Adults 18-49 demographic. The 20.2 million viewers that watched the series was 1.7 million more viewers than watched the program's January 8 premiere broadcast while the Adults 18-49 numbers represented a 10% increase over the premiere.

The Apprentice won its hour in virtually all key demographics and beat a first-run episode of CBS' CSI head-to-head in the 9-9:30 PM ET averages for all 18-34 and 18-49 demographics.

The Apprentice's 10.0/25 Adults 18-49 rating/share represents the highest Adults 18-49 rating for any reality program since the May 21, 2003 American Idol finale. While the episode's 20.2 million overall viewers still placed it well behind the average number of total viewers routinely drawn by many individual Survivor episodes, Apprentice's 10.0 rating in Adults 18-49 beat every Survivor rating, including finales, since May 19, 2002.

The Apprentice's numbers were also the highest Adults 18-49 rating for a second episode of a newly introduced reality series (meaning this excludes subsequent runs of established reality series) since at least the summer of 2000, when the original Survivor series premiered and the current reality genre began.

The Apprentice's 10% build from week one to week two compares favorably to the original runs of American Idol Tuesday (up 8% from its first week to its second), American Idol Wednesday (down 10%), Joe Milloinaire (down 7%) and The Bachelor (up 10%).

On The Apprentice, contestants compete in the ruthless corporate jungle of New York City, vying for a position as apprentice to the legendary business tycoon Donald Trump. After airing on Thursdays after NBC's Friends for its first two episdes, the hit reality series is scheduled to shift to its regular time period next Wednesday at 8 PM ET.

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