Despite getting crushed by the season premieres of NBC's resurgent "West Wing" and powerhouse "Law & Order" (which placed ninth and fourth respectively in the overall weekly ratings) in the total viewers ratings, the season premiere of "The Bachelor" won its 2-hour time slot among Adults 18-34, beating "West Wing" and "Law & Order" by 12% on average (5.8/17 vs. 5.2/15).

The special two-hour "The Bachelor" premiere placed a solid second in the time period in Total Viewers with 12.5 million viewers and second in the Adults 18-49 demographic with a 6.0/16 rating/share.

The 12.5 million viewers represented the largest audience and highest Adult 18-49 rating ever for a "The Bachelor" premiere. The premiere of the original "The Bachelor" edition, featuring Alex, had opened with a 9.9 million & 4.0/9, while "The Bachelor" with Aaron had scored a 11.0 million & 4.9/12, and last season's "The Bachelor" with Andrew opened with a 10.2 million & 5.0/12.

Despite the fact that overall, "Law & Order" was the higher rated NBC show for the evening, ABC's "The Bachelor" actually fared better versus the long-running NBC drama than it did versus an apparently rejuvenated "West Wing." Against the season premiere of "Law & Order" from 10-11 PM, after the show actually already introduced the 25 women to Bob Guiney, "The Bachelor's" audience surged by 2.5 million viewers (11.3 million to 13.8 million) and 20% among Adults 18-49 (5.5/14 to 6.6/18) over its first hour (9:00-10:00 p.m.).