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Everything's a game of numbers...

Today is

Pass/Fail: Part 2 - June 22

The last time we visited this subject, it was May. I think.

THE APPRENTICE (NBC): The Donald has had his say... twice... and both times were met with underwhelming results. The thought was that Deal or No Deal could provide a bit of heft to the struggling franchise, but viewers were smarter than that.

Let's go back to December. From Mediaweek: The Apprentice 4 concluded with a 9.7/15 in the overnights (#2), 12.85 million viewers (#2) and a 5.7/15 among adults 18-49 (#1) from 9-11p. On the comparable year-ago evening, the three-hour conclusion of The Apprentice 2 netted a considerably heftier (and first-place) 13.2/20 in the overnights, 16.93 million viewers and a 7.8/21 from 8-11p.

The incredible-shrinking "Apprentice" finale shrunk even further with a 90-minute Trumpathon, yielding this result: 8.0/13 in the overnights, 11.19 million viewers, and a 4.4/12 among adults 18-49 from 9:30p, all first. Donald called this one of the best shows of that week, but we at the Numbers Game are all about truth. And the truth is, this and Deal or No Deal were the only shows that were still hanging around from the season, so of course they're going to be the highest. They're the ones that most people will gravitate toward, especially since they're ending.

Final grading... FAIL.

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE (Syndication): Not that bad a show, really, but consider that all syndicated games are down and that we haven't had a million dollar winner in a while now. Hopefully BVTV will not resort to sinking to any drastic measures to boost the numbers. After all, it has a multi-year deal, and the numbers only went from a high 3 to a low- to mid-3. Not cause for concern yet, especially since all year they managed to pretty much play the game straight.

Final grading... PASS.

FAMILY FEUD (Syndication): Something must be rotten in the state of Denmark if Richard Karn is on his way out. That will come at a later rant. But the Feud presents your classic syndication conundrum. It isn't a breakout hit by any means, but at the same time, the numbers, which have been in the window of low- to mid-2s, don't warrant cancellation yet. This will be one to watch as John O'Hurley becomes host #5 in 30 years of the Feud.

And historically, "Family Feud" only lasted around eight to nine years in syndication. This will be one to watch.

Final grading:... PASS.

UNAN1MOUS (Fox): The best thing that could possibly happen to this show... the show before it. Earlier, I wrote, and the numbers seemed to agree...

(Nielsen ratings) do not rate a particular show from start to finish. They only rate a particular time frame, usually the half hour. That basically means that instead of rating whatever program is on from the moment it starts, ratings will measure an audience to whatever is broadcast over the network's airwaves from 9:30p to 10p. Because the powers that be believe that this sort of thing is sloppy enough without going to make it even sloppier.

Sure the show managed to win its time slot every week, but retention fell big time to 43 percent. Even with the season finale, it still had to draw in from big brother American Idol. Er go...

Final grading... No matter what Fox may tell you... FAIL.

CELEBRITY COOKING SHOWDOWN (NBC): The less said about this show, the better. Yanked after three last place showings...

Final grading... FAIL BIG TIME.

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL (UPN): Admit it... You can't name a single Top Model winner after Naima Mora. Well... I can't, anyway. But is America burning out of Tyra-mania? The last season scored in the 4 range for UPN, good for fifth place most of the time. Previously, the show scored a healthier 5.8/9.

But still, it's a good-enough hit to warrant reruns on VH1 and (I'll never get this) the CW Sundays.

Final grading... PASS.

Oh, NICOLE! That's who I was trying to remember.

THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER (Spike): Hard to gauge on cable, but not impossible if you're the most popular show on the network, as we've seen audiences nearly double between season 2 and season 3.

Final grading... PASS BIG TIME.

TOP CHEF (Bravo): A record that no one at Bravo will stop crowing about.

Final grading... PASS.

AMERICAN INVENTOR (ABC): Simon Cowell's tribute to the American dream, while promising, faded as soon as it started, it seemed. The finale barely registered a 5 for third place (thanks to competition from CBS). That's down from the premiere showing a 9.7/15 opposite March Madness.

The show may be good, but throw it against the wolves and it's breakfast.

And reruns didn't help either.

Final grading... FAIL.

BEAUTY AND THE GEEK (THE WB): the finale scored a fifth-place 2.9/4, delivering 3.76 million viewers. The finale of the initial summer run yielded 4.06 million. Not bad considering the competition.

Seems like if the CW wants to put life into this show, which it deserves, it's going to have to go back to its simple summertime there's-nothing-else-on roots.

Final grading... Can we give this one a D? If not, then FAIL, with one shot at a makeup.

Now to the summertime gradings...

- Game Show Marathon is getting better, as it continues to fall into the not-bad-just-not-good file with a showing of "Card Sharks" posting thusly: 4.7/8 overnight, and 6.76 million viewers, both first. While down from last week, a positive is its showing with viewers aged 25-54, the audience that remembers mostly the good of "Card Sharks" when it first aired.

Next up, the more familiar "Match Game". Hopefully the familiarity will breed a breakout.

- Fear Factor's farewell tour of duty is posting the kind of numbers that it should've been showing this entire season. It tied for third in the overnights with a 4.1/7, translating into 5.77 million viewers. Last week, 4.3/7 in the overnights, 7.01 million viewers for second.

- Meanwhile, Last Comic Standing (Overnights: #3, 5.3/8; Viewers: #3, 7.45 million) continues to build off of it. Hopefully we'll see some big things from the franchise as we work to the end.

But please... Give someone else a shot. Lord knows Bil has enough work right now.

- Hell's Kitchen. Last week, 5.4/9 and total viewers of 6.68 million, both first. This week... 5.8/ 9 in the overnights, a tie for first, and 7.38 million viewers, good for second.

So we have some success stories (and one failure), but no real breakout hit... yet.

The Weekly Rant, or to paraphrase Rich Jeffries, due to a misunderstanding of a story posted by myself on Monday, said story was deleted and the program edited. Because that's our way here. Mess up, fess up, dress up.

"Big Brother All-Stars: America's Vote" aired last night, with a retrospective of the past six years in the Big Brother House, located at CBS Studio Center in Studio City (a GSNN Extra is forthcoming). But I have to take a bit of issue with the selection committee of the all-star season.

You mean to tell me that of the 10 people who played Big Brother 1, only Chicken George got a mention? What's up with that?

Granted, it was a different game back then, something akin to a popularity contest, but still, there were some memorable characters from that season, characters that could've made for an interesting conflict were they allowed to control their own destiny.

Remember Eddie McGee, the one-legged wonder who went on to win the whole thing?

Remember Will Mega, the Black Panther who called the white ladies in the house "the devil"?

Remember Brittany Petros, she of the multi-hued hair? She was Nakomis before Nakomis was Nakomis.

Remember Josh Souza? The runner-up?

Remember Curtis Kin, who was the first person to go on a Big Brother field trip?

You mean to tell me that only Chicken George was available to come back? Again, granted at least one of the first houseguests (Jamie Kern) parlayed her fame into a REAL job, but come on. give the season more credit than that.

I guess you know who I'll be voting for. Come on, George!

If you agree with Chico Alexander's endorsement of Chicken George for Big Brother All Star, e-mail him at Or e-mail with your own picks from the also-rans that CBS left out.


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