Top Chef 5 has record debut but fewer viewers than Project Runway

Top Chef 5‘s debut Wednesday night was the show’s highest-rated debut ever, but the show still attracted fewer people than watched the season premiere of Project Runway 5 this summer.

Overall, 2.695 million total viewers tuned in to watch the 17 chefs get narrowed to 16 after the first Quickfire challenge and then one of the “Team Rainbow” members go home. That’s about a quarter million less than the 2.915 million people who watched Tim Gunn and company’s final appearance on Bravo in July.

Still, Bravo says it’s “the show’s highest rated premiere ever for the series,” and it had “supersized growth from its last cycle,” as it was up “by 27 percent in adults 18-49 (1.870 vs. 1.475 million) and by 19 percent among total viewers (2.695 vs. 2.256 million).”

If history is a guide, ratings will grow: Top Chef 4 ended in June with 3.508 million viewers after debuting with 2.256 million viewers.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.