'Joe Millionaire' brings ratings bonanza to Fox

February 18, 2003

Fox got away cheap giving away a million dollars on "Joe Millionaire." The two-hour finale of the reality series was nothing less than a blockbuster for the network Monday night, with an average of 34.6 million people tuning in, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

The show featured construction worker-turned-fake millionaire Evan Marriott choosing substitute teacher Zora as his mate, then revealing that he was not worth $50 million as he had said all along, before the couple was surprised with a $1 million gift from the network.

No other show on the other major networks drew more than about 18 million viewers in any one half-hour during the night, according to Nielsen data. Fox said the show was the highest-rated entertainment programming on any network, excluding shows airing directly after the Super Bowl, since the finale of CBS' first edition of "Survivor" in August 2000.

The final hour of the show, at 9 p.m., drew a 40 percent share of TV viewers aged 18-49, the key demographic for advertisers. Among women ages 18 to 34 who were watching TV at 9 p.m., 50 percent turned on "Joe Millionaire."

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