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'The Bachelor' ratings down again

January 3, 2012 | 10:57 am

Ben Flajnik
Every rose has its thorn.

"The Bachelor," ABC's perennial reality soap, returned for a two-hour premiere Monday night to less-than stellar ratings compared to its previous years. The series, now in its 16th season with "The Bachelorette" reject Ben Flajnik holding court, brought in 7. 7 million viewers (and received a 2.4 rating/6 share in the 18-to-49 demo), according to the network. That was down from last year's 9 million viewers who tuned in to the premiere of the season featuring Brad Womack -- which was already one of the show's lowest premieres.

As it did last year, it came in second to CBS' roster of comedies in the 8-10 p.m. block -- which also helped make CBS the night's winner overall. "How I Met Your Mother" (10.2 million) and "2 Broke Girls" (12 million) led into the evening's top program, "Two and a Half Men" (13.7 million). The numbers dipped a bit for "Mike & Molly" with 11.9 million.

Overall, ABC came in second for the night and averaged 7.2 million viewers for the night (the premiere of "Celebrity Wife" swap drew 6.2 million viewers). NBC, with original programming including "Fear Factor" and "Rock Center With Brian Williams," came in third with 5.1 million viewers.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Ben Flajnik. Credit: ABC