Z-listers help ITV2's 'CelebAir' take off

LONDON - ITV2's new reality TV series 'CelebAir' debuted with 549,000 viewers, while C4's 'The Secret Millionaire' led the primetime ratings with 4.2m, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The chance to see Z-listers such as Page 3 girl Michelle Marsh and former 'X-Factor' contestant Chico pitched against each other in competitive air stewarding was heavily promoted through PR.

According to the Daily Star Chico is already grating nerves by shouting out variations of his catchphrase "It's Chico time!" such as "It's meal time!" and "It's disembarking time!".

Almost all of those who tuned in at 9pm stayed with the programme for the whole hour, giving it a 2.3% share of viewing.

It didn't perform especially well in light of ITV2's 12-month average rating for the slot, which is 512,000 viewers and a 2.4% share. However, it beat the start of the fourth series of twisting and turning drama 'Prison Break' on Sky One, which pulled in 375,000 and 1.7% as the band of former prisoners, guards and FBI agents led by Michael Schofield united together to take down the evil Company.

In the main terrestrial battle Channel 4 recovered the upper hand after last week losing the 9pm-10pm slot to BBC One's new drama 'Mutual Friends', starring Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes and Alexander Armstrong, which was described by Metro as a "bizarre mix of slapstick and melodrama (a kind of Carry On Cold Feet)".

'Mutual Friends' had debuted with 4.6m viewers but was last night down to 3.7m (16.2%), while C4's 'The Secret Millionaire' improved from last week's 3.7m to 4.2m (18.6%). Including Channel 4+1 ratings, 'Secret Millionaire' was seen by 4.4m, with a 19.7% share.

Channel 4 had a strong night with 'Big Brother's double eviction drama earning 3.3m (14.5%) at 8pm-9pm and 3.7m (20.9%) at 10pm-11pm.



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