NBC’s new poker show “Face the Ace” debuted on NBC on Saturday night, with contestant Don Topel winning $200,000. This week, he’ll go for $1 million. Despite the high-stakes drama, “Face the Ace” premiered in last place in the ratings.
“Face the Ace” aired from 9:00pm ET to 10:00pm ET on Saturday night. According to television ratings provided by TVByTheNumbers.com, during its first half-hour, the series of heads-up poker matches garnered a 0.4 rating with a 2 share, equating to 1.59 million viewers. Of the four major networks in the United States, NBC took last during that time slot. FOX, which aired an episode of “America’s Most Wanted,” claimed the top spot with a 1.5 rating and 6 share, or 4.43 million viewers.
During its first half-hour, “Face the Ace” also squared off against the ABC movie “Red Eye,” which kicked off at 8:00pm ET and ran for three hours. During the 9:00pm ET to 9:30pm ET time slot, “Red Eye,” claimed a 0.7 rating with a 3 share, good for the second best tally with 3.27 million viewers. Finally, CBS aired a rerun of “Numb3rs” between 9:00pm ET and 10:00pm ET. During the hour-long show’s first 30 minutes, “Numb3rs” also generated a 0.7 rating with a 3 share, equating to 3.26 million viewers and falling just short of the ABC movie.
During its second half-hour, “Face the Ace” was up against the same three shows. “America’s Most Wanted” once again led the way with a 1.6 rating and a 6 share for 4.78 million viewers. “Red Eye” claimed a 0.9 rating and a 4 share, which translated into 3.82 million viewers. “Numb3rs” boasted a 0.7 rating with a 3 share, good for 3.57 million viewers. Once again, “Face the Ace” rounded out the top four, taking a 0.4 rating with a 2 share. The poker television show attracted 1.54 million viewers.
Several NBC affiliates pre-empted “Face the Ace” for local programming, including the Houston and Detroit affiliates, two of the largest markets in the country. Formerly airing in the time slot currently held by “Face the Ace” was “Kings,” likely a much pricier series to produce. Therefore, NBC’s margin may be slightly higher on “Face the Ace.” A poster on TVByTheNumbers.com noted that despite “Face the Ace’s” sluggish ratings, “Kings also had a price tag that was how much bigger?” Full Tilt Poker sponsors “Face the Ace”. All of its “aces” are pros of the online poker site.
TVByTheNumbers.com reports ratings for viewers aged 18 to 49. “Face the Ace,” as a poker-themed show, does not target the full spectrum of this demographic. “Poker After Dark,” NBC’s daily poker show, airs at 2:05am ET. This week’s match-up is entitled “Close But No Cigar” and includes players who have reached the final table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, but have yet to claim a title in the $10,000 buy-in feature tournament: Mike Matusow, Lee Watkinson, Allen Cunningham, Dewey Tomko, Andy Black, and David Williams.
A thread that appeared on the online poker forum PocketFives.com recommended several improvements for future episodes of “Face the Ace,” including having a contestant’s loved ones on stage rooting them on (in a similar fashion to the NBC game show “Deal or No Deal”), Full Tilt Poker pros railing their colleagues, a player winning an on-stage sit and go to face an ace, and a new host.
“Face the Ace” will air this Saturday, August 8th, at 9:00pm ET. Then, it can be seen once per month until January of 2010. Show officials described the first two primetime episodes as an opportunity to “test the waters” for future programming choices. Here’s when you can catch “Face the Ace”:
August 8th, 2009 – 9:00pm ET
September 12th, 2009 – 2:00pm ET
October 31st, 2009 – 3:30pm ET
November 14th, 2009 – 3:00pm ET
December 12th, 2009 – 3:00pm ET
January 2nd, 2010 – 2:30pm ET
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