Apprentice bombs, losing half of celebrity version’s audience

The return of the regular The Apprentice to NBC after a three-year absence was the show’s lowest-rated debut ever, with less than 50 percent of the last celebrity edition’s debut audience tuning in this week.

According to Nielsen data compiled by TV By the Numbers, the show grew its audience over two hours, starting with 4.565 million viewers and eventually ending up with 4.936 in its last half-hour. That’s still awful, though, and Donald “My show is the #1 show in the country” Trump had is ass handed to him by repeats of shows on other networks. Repeats.

Worse, TV By the Numbers notes that the debut “was 53% below the premiere of Celebrity Apprentice on 3/14/10, 44% below the Thursday premiere of The Jay Leno Show, and below the final Thursday average for The Jay Leno Show.” Jay Leno!

I’m not quite sure why the ratings were so low, although I completely forgot it was back on, remembering only at the last minute to DVR it. The lack of celebrities-especially after NBC trained us to look for celebrities on the show–may have also contributed. Next week, it will be just an hour, starting at 10 p.m. That later yet still competitive timeslot could further erode its audience.

Perhaps more people will return now that they’ve heard it’s back on, and once it follows new episodes of Community, 30 Rock, The Office, and its lead in, Outsourced. Actually, never mind: Any viewer in their right mind will flee Outsourced after 10 minutes of its nonsense, so that certainly won’t do anything.

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.