'Celebrity Apprentice' premiere ratings low: Are All-Star editions a bad idea?

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Donald Trump could get called into NBC’s boardroom if his numbers don’t improve.

The business tycoon’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice returned Sunday night to its lowest-rated premiere ever for a celebrity edition of the reality franchise. Only 5.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, which had a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down 38 percent from last year’s premiere. Contestants include Trace Adkins, Bret Michaels, La Toya Jackson and Omarosa.

ABC’s Dancing With the Stars also hit lows with an All-Star edition this season. It’s impossible to know in either case if new casts would have performed worse, but it seems pretty obvious that the All-Star versions did not boost ratings in either case. As fans pointed out regarding last fall’s Dancing, the whole point of the show is to see celebrities sink or swim in a challenging environment; when you cast returning players, you lose that mystery.

The only legit bragging point NBC can muster on this number is that Apprentice beat ABC’s Red Widow premiere.

The crime family drama soap, which scored less than a 50 out of 100 among TV reviewers on Metacritic, launched to 6.8 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49. That’s 36 percent lower than the debut of ABC’s short-lived GCB in this slot last year. This ties Zero Hour (which was cancelled last week) as ABC’s lowest-rated scripted premiere ever, though the network points out that among total viewers Red Widow improved its time slot.

Red Widow continues broadcast’s recent string of lackluster midseason debuts (only Fox’s The Following has developed much of a, er, following).

The rest of the field was pretty weak too, though CBS’ Amazing Race rose 26 percent and Good Wife was up 23 percent. The Mentalist was down 6 percent. ABC’s Once Upon a Time was down 13 percent to hit a series low. Fox’s The Simpsons was up 15 percent. Fox trying out Cleveland Show at 8:30 p.m. and Bob’s Burgers at 9:30 p.m. didn’t result in any big swings.

Full Chart:

 ADULT DEMO RANK ADULTS 18-49 RATING  TOTAL VIEWERS (+000)
FOX 7:00P Simpsons RS #14t 1.3 3,114
7:30P CLEVELAND-FOX #11t 1.5 3,267
8:00P SIMPSONS-FOX #2 2.3 4,762
8:30P CLEVELAND #4t 1.9 3,799
9:00P FAMILY GUY R #4t 1.9 4,113
9:30P BOBS BURGERS #6t 1.7 3,638
ABC 7-8P FUNNIEST #8t 1.6 6,529
8-9P ONCE-TIME #3 2.1 7,220
9-11P RED WIDOW P #13 1.4 6,922
CBS 7-8P 60 MINUTES #6t 1.7 11,945
8-9P AMAZING RACE #1 2.4 9,117
9-10P GOOD WIFE #8t 1.6 8,940
10-11P MENTALIST #11t 1.5 9,096
NBC 7:00P OFF-RCKR7P 3/3 RS #16t 0.8 3,556
7:30P OFF-RCK730 3/3 RS #16t 0.8 3,318
8-9P DATELINE #14t 1.3 6,090
9-11P APPRNTCE13 P #8t 1.6 5,084

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