Contender debut watched by 8.4 million, and is easily beaten by CBS comedy, CSI.

Contender debut watched by 8.4 million, and is easily beaten by CBS comedy, CSI.
NBC’s The Contender got its ass kicked by both Charlie Sheen and CSI: Miami on Monday night. The debut episode of NBC’s boxing series was watched by 8.4 million, less than half of the number who watched Two and a Half Men (17.45 million) and CSI: Miami (21.68 million). Zap2it.com calls this “disappointing, but not disastrous,” while Mediaweek refers to it as a “modest start.” The series continues Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET, and then moves into its regular time slot at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday night—opposite ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Simpsons. On Monday’s episode, undefeated boxer and third-ranked Peter Manfredo Jr. was beaten by Alfonso Gomez. Why do the show? Manfredo tells the Providence Journal, “Sure, I was going for the million. But I was also taking the opportunity to get the exposure, for people to know me outside of New England.” Mark Burnett says we can expect more unexpected match-ups. “This is the first time I saw people deliberately take the toughest way. … They never chose someone they thought they could beat. Invariably they would chose the toughest fights. These are unbelievably proud men. They’d rather lose than take the easy fight,” he said.
+ also: “‘The Contender’ is compulsively watchable, and largely because the stakes for its competitors … are so incredibly high.”

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