Donald Trump gets his ass kicked by TAR, Undercover Boss; Life reached 33.8 million

On Sunday, the showdown between three reality series seems to have a clear loser, and it’s Donald Trump and his number-one show in the universe. Celebrity Apprentice 3 lost 19 percent of its viewers ages 18 to 49 from the premiere, in part because the two-hour episode aired against both The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss, which were delayed by 50 minutes because of basketball overruns.

In his first hour, Trump had 6.37 million viewers, half of Phil Keoghan and company’s average of 12.45 million viewers. At 10, 13.598 million watched Undercover Boss–which remained as formulaic as ever–while an average of 7.346 million watched Trump fire Sinbad. (TV By the Numbers has the raw ratings broken into half-hours, which I averaged together.)

Meanwhile, Discovery and the BBC’s nature documentary series Life debuted last night and was watched by 33.8 million viewers across its seven-network simulcast. That’s all people age two and above who watched for more than one minute.

Variety’s Michael Schneider says it “averaged 9.4 million viewers,” while Discovery’s release points out that on the Discovery Channel alone, 11.8 million people watched (overall, not average), which is “nearly [2 million] more than the debut of Planet Earth (10.2 [million]).”

I joked on Twitter that 33.8 million is the same number of commercials as the two-hour debut had, which irritated people. Certainly, the network has to pay for the expense of producing such amazing footage, but interrupting it constantly makes it seem a little less spectacular.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.