Stats don't include the BBC iPlayer online streaming, which should improve the lackluster numbers.

If Chris Evans wasn't sweating after his first episode hosting Top Gear received dismal numbers and critical panning (British viewers called it the worst show on television) he certainly will be after reading episode two's figures. According to The Telegraph, 2.8 million Brits tuned in to BBC2 for last night's second episode, with a peak of 3.3 million viewer. That figure doesn't include the stats from video on-demand and the iPlayer, which the BBC hasn't published yet.

There are a few reasons this is disappointing. First, Evans and Co. have lost just over a third of their viewers in one week. And with 2.8 million viewers, episode two is officially at half the average of old Top Gear. This is also the second week in a row where live viewer figures are below Chris Evans' target prediction of five million. The audience share, meanwhile, fell from last week's 23 percent to just 14 percent.

There is, of course, a silver lining. Top Gear is still above the 2.6-million viewer average for its UK time slot, although only just. Its audience share is healthier than the 9.9-percent average, too. But that silver lining quickly evaporates when you realize that Antiques Roadshow scored 4.7 million viewers last night – yes, more people tuned in to see a 1930's movie camera and "a dagger with a gruesome past" than watch Chris Evans drive about in a lime green McLaren with Jenson Button.

Now, as people on Twitter were quick to tell me after last week's ratings recap, I'm not taking into account iPlayer online streaming figures, which the Beeb hasn't published yet. They bolstered the viewership for episode one considerably, and we'd expect a similar kick in the pants for episode two. TG is currently the most popular program on the iPlayer. But can online viewing make up for a 1.5-million viewer loss over last week's premiere? We aren't optimistic.


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