ABC’s ‘Bachelorette’ Makes Winning Debut

AP Wire Service

LOS ANGELES (AP) – “The Bachelorette” rules.

The debut of the ABC reality series, which puts “The Bachelor” reject Trista Rehn in control, drew 17.4 million viewers Wednesday to win its time period.

“The Bachelorette,” airing at 9 p.m. EST, outdrew its closest competitor, “The West Wing,” by 3.4 million viewers, according to ratings released Thursday.

The chance to see Rehn begin paring 25 men to her one true love was a draw for both sexes. “The Bachelorette” posted a higher rating among men than the season average for “The Bachelor,” ABC said.

Other reality shows had healthy debuts Wednesday.

ABC’s “Celebrity Mole Hawaii,” a version of its “The Mole” series featuring such relatively familiar faces as actors Stephen Baldwin and Kim Coles, drew an average 10.7 million viewers.

It was second in its 10 p.m. EST time slot behind NBC’s “Law & Order,” which averaged 19.6 million viewers.

On CBS, “Star Search” was No. 1 at 8 p.m. EST, drawing 13.8 million viewers and helping the network to one of its most-watched Wednesdays of the season. The talent hunt, with host Arsenio Hall, also airs on Thursday.