It was a bumpy ratings start for NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with new host Arnold Schwarzenegger, which opened its eighth season — and first without original star Donald Trump — with a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 4.9 million viewers. That is down a big 46% from the most recent Season 7 debut two years ago and ties an all-time Live+Same Day low for the celebrity version of the business-themed reality series executive produced by the President-elect.
There are some mitigating factors — Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice faced stiff sports competition from ESPN’s Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl coverage, and the NBC affiliates owned by Hearst stations are blacked out on DirecTV. Still, this is a pretty underwhelming start for the rebooted Celebrity Apprentice which, to drum up interest, kept Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase under wraps until the premiere broadcast.
Celebrity Apprentice was topped in the 8-10 PM slot by the season premiere of another unscripted veteran, ABC’s The Bachelor (2.1, 6.56 million), which was steady in the demo with its most recent installment, off by 0.1 in the fast nationals with a shot at coming up even in the finals. There was a bigger drop in total viewers (13%, or almost 1 million viewers). It was followed by a Jimmy Kimmel Bachelor special at 10 PM, which did a so-so 1.1 in the demo, edged by NBC’s new game show The Wall (1.2). The Wall‘s time-slot premiere was down -25% from the special preview behind an America’s Got Talent holiday special last month and on par with Timeless‘ season average in the hour with a stronger lead-in from The Voice.
CBS’ Monday lineup was on par with its last originals on December. 12 and December 19. Kevin Can Wait (1.4), The Odd Couple (1.0) and Scorpion (1.2) were even while Man With A Plan (1.2) and 2 Broke Girls (1.3) were up a tenth. Fox aired a two-hour MasterChef Celebrity Showdown special (0.9).
ABC won the night in 18-49 (1.8), while CBS was tops in total viewers (6.6 million).