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Where Has the Time Gone? - October 13

Wow... three weeks since the last Numbers Game? Where has the time gone? Where have I gone? What's up with the delay?

Let's just say I'm the biggest victim of circumstance ever and be done with it. To open up this round of TNG, let's hear it for another victim of circumstance (not to mention bad taste), "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart".

When we started...

We had a talk show and almost every waking hour on NBC to hype the show up. Did it work? Not quite... The show attracted 7.65 million viewers, scoring a second-place 6.7/10 in the overnights and a 2.5/7 among adults 18-49 from 8-9 p.m. ABC could be the culprit in this debacle, as they did air a "Destination: Lost" special opposite, but most of the blame is squarely on the franchise itself.

If you were one of the 7.65 million viewers watching, then you did notice more than one striking aspect of show cloning. Teams, tasks, and the eventual firing were all sterilized for the new post-prison Martha image. As a result, everything that was appealing about "The Apprentice" was gone in an instant. And so were the viewers, apparently. Let's take a look as time marches forward...

Later on...

The following week: erosion sets in. Despite having no "Lost" milk special opposite the show, it only managed a 5.7/9 in the overnights, second place tie, and a fourth-place share in viewers (6.22 million viewers) and 18-49ers (2.1/6).

Last Wednesday...  a switch to 9p, and a fourth-place finish as a result: 5.3/8 in the overnights, 6.48 million viewers, and a 2.5/ 7 among adults 18-49 in its new time period. Even opposite "Lost", it gained some viewers, but not enough to warrant its continued existence on any network.

Yesterday... NBC was in fourth overall, and The Apprentice was hardly any better with a fourth-place 5.1/8.

The last couple of weeks, it should be noted, were baseball division series weeks.

So why the erosion? Could it be that NBC once again is desperate for a hit that it'll clone one of its bigger ones (we all remember the debacle that is "Coupling")? Or could it be that NBC has done that... and in the process underestimated the intelligence of the audience? After all, we all know that the Queen of Good Things is hardly a "good thing" herself. Someone busted for insider trading has to have a seedier dark side. Similar in stature to money woes that plagued the Donald earlier in his career, instead of embracing that dark side (which made "The Apprentice" work in the first place - remember the mantra: "It's nothing personal, it's just business"), Martha shies away from it, opting even for a cordial parting gift of a letter. Viewers called her on it, and as a result, they never came back.

In other numbers...

- Is "The Amazing Race" a family affair after all? Last week's show posted thusly: third-place (and biting) 7.4/10 in the overnights and 11.35 million viewers, with a second place demo finish (4.4/11). One week prior, 7.6/11 in the overnights for a tie at third, 11.40 million viewers for second, and a 4.2/11 among adults 18-49. One week prior than that, the premiere scores thusly: Overnights: 7.3/10; Viewers: 10.71 million; A18-49: 4.4/11. This was a two-hour show. Expect this to be a competitive, but level, par for the course on the diluted (yet still enjoyable) Race.

- The season-finale of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" signed off at a respectable 5.5/8 in the overnights (#3), 8.00 million viewers (#3) and a second-place 2.9/8 among adults 18-49, according to Mediaweek.com. Does that mean we'll see more of it? It all depends on the ever-changing whims of the Fox heads, but if such were the case, I would not be surprised.

We're gonna make some more time each week so this kind of gap doesn't happen again. Until next week, remember, the numbers never lie.

You can probably tell, but Chico Alexander is in the minority, as he doesn't get "Lost". E-mail him at chico@gameshownewsnet.com

 

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