Office tops US ratings

11.2m see pilot episode

The American remake of The Office has got off to a cracking start in the ratings.

More than 11.2 million viewers tuned into the debut episode at 9.30pm on Thursday, according to the preliminary Nielsen ratings.

The NBC show was especially popular with the sought-after 18-49 audience, winning more viewers in that age range than any other show at the time.

Thursday is usually one of the most keenly fought nights for TV ratings in the States, but pre-Easter line-ups made it a different battleground this week, with the rival CBS network abandoning its usual strong schedule to make way for basketball.

However, it didn’t help all NBC’s shows – with The Apprentice, ER and Joey all recording series lows – making The Office’s initial audience all the more promising.

The show, which stars Steve Carell as the David Brent figure Michael Scott, moves to its regular Tuesday night slot this week, where it should inherit a sizeable audience from a new episode of hospital comedy Scrubs that precedes it.

While Thursday’s pilot episode was a reworking of Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant’s scripts, Tuesday’s show – set around a racial awareness workshop – has been written by the American team.

Gervais said of the ratings triumph: "I'm so proud of them for taking that chance. I'd much rather the project was uncompromised and fewer people watched it. As it turns out it was uncompromised and lots of people watched it."

 

Published: 29 Mar 2005

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