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'Secret Millionaire' looks like a hit for ABC in Sunday ratings upset

March 7, 2011 | 10:54 am

Lorenagarcia Sunday's ratings offered a big surprise. ABC looks like it may have a hit with "Secret Millionaire," a feel-good reality show that already had a blink-and-you-missed-it run on Fox a few seasons back. Meanwhile, NBC's heavily promoted "America's Next Great Restaurant" looked not great at all.

"Secret Millionaire,"  which drops a rich person incognito amid ordinary folk, where he or she looks for real-life heroes, delivered a total of 12.6 million total viewers and was the most-watched program on the most competitive Sunday in a while, according to the Nielsen Co. The show is a steadfast hit in the U.K. but has until now never attracted much attention in the U.S. "Secret Millionaire," which gained audience throughout the 8 p.m. hour, is the biggest midseason reality premiere in three years.(On Fox, the show ran as a series of specials in December 2008 that averaged 6.7 million viewers.)

But ABC's gain was NBC's loss. "America's Next Great Restaurant" opened to a weak 4.6 million total viewers, for a fourth-place finish in that 8 p.m. slot. That was especially bad news for NBC, which was hoping that "Restaurant" would provide a strong lead-in for the two-hour premiere of "Celebrity Apprentice," which ended up scoring a modest 7.8 million viewers.

What did you think of "Secret Millionaire" and "America's Next Great Restaurant"?

-- Scott Collins

(Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Lorena Garcia of NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant." Credit: Byron Cohen / NBC.

 

 

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