New non-fiction skeins bring in numbers

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s imperious declaration “You’re fired!” on “The Apprentice” may be getting some reality-TV competition from a new assertion: “You’re under arrest!”

The first of two highly touted non-fiction primetime series about bounty hunters premiered on A&E on Tuesday, and “Dog the Bounty Hunter” averaged 3.2-million total viewers from two back-to-back original half-hours. That rating tied the show with “Growing Up Gotti” as the most-watched new-series debuts in the 20-year history of A&E.

On Sept. 19, HBO weighs in with the first of 10 half-hour episodes of “Family Bonds,” which follows the lives of a Long Island family of bail bondsmen who take off after criminal suspects if they welsh on their obligations.

For A&E, the show starring Duane “Dog” Chapman, who has caught 6,000 absconding lawbreakers, averaged 1.9-million adults 25 to 54, the network’s target demographic, and 1.8 million adults 18 to 49.

“Dog the Bounty Hunter” joins “Gotti” and a batch of other successful A&E reality series such as “Airline,” “Family Plots” and “The First 48,” which, as a group, have driven the network’s A25-54 primetime rating to climb by 34% in August, its A18-49 numbers to shoot up by 48% and its A18-34 Nielsens to soar by 96%.

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