The first Monday of the new year was a busy one for the broadcast networks. The premieres of NBC's revamped Celebrity Apprentice and ABC's The Bachelor went head-to-head, and it proved to be a surprisingly easy win for romance.
Between 8 and 10 p.m. ET, the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice not hosted by original emcee (and now president-elect) Donald Trump averaged just a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.9 million viewers. In the key demo, that's down 35 percent from the show's comparable Monday premiere in 2015. (It's off a steeper 46 percent from the last Sunday debut.) The series, now hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, was not goosed by the heavy promotions or the controversy surrounding Trump's lingering profit participation and executive producer credit.
Cable ratings, which will arrive later on Tuesday, will likely paint a favorable picture for ESPN in that primetime block. The cable network had the last quarter of the Rose Bowl full Sugar Bowl coverage.
In the same time period, and also facing some college football competition, ABC's Bachelor launched its 21st cycle very much in line with last year. The two-hour premiere averaged a 2.2 rating in the key demo and 6.6 million viewers. That was enough to make it the night's top performer on the Big Four. A Jimmy Kimmel special earned a 1.1 rating in the key demo and 3.6 million viewers just after The Bachelor wrapped.
If there's a silver lining for NBC, newcomer The Wall is holding up quite well. Even with the fatigued Apprentice lead-in, the show managed to retain nearly all of its showing in the key demo. The Wall averaged a 1.2 rating in the key demo and 4.5 million viewers.
CBS managed to keep its regular Monday block steady despite the new competition. Kevin Can Wait, which topped Apprentice for No. 2 broadcast status, pulled an even 1.4 rating among adults 18-49. Man With a Plan (1.2 adults), 2 Broke Girls (1.3 adults), The Odd Couple (1.0 adults) and Scorpion (1.2 adults) followed.
On Fox, the special MasterChef Celebrity Showdown averaged a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers.
Content From: Hollywood Reporter PT by Michael O'Connell