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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Millions tune in for Joey debut
Matt LeBlanc
Joey, starring Matt LeBlanc, is set in Los Angeles
An estimated 18.6 million people in the US tuned in to watch the debut episode of Joey - the spin-off of Friends.

Television channel NBC said it was their best-rated comedy premiere in that evening slot in 14 years.

But the figures are lower than any episode of Friends drew in its last season - including the 24.5 million people who watched the series debut.

The first episode of Joey, starring Matt LeBlanc, was aired on Thursday night, after a huge build up.

'Respectable hit'

NBC said that Joey enjoyed the largest audience among the advertiser-friendly 18-to-49-year-old age group of any other entertainment show since May.

The series had been heavily promoted on the channel during the Olympics.

However, Marc Berman, a television analyst for Media Week Online, said: "I can't imagine they're all there [at NBC] jumping for joy.

"Joey should settle in to being a respectable hit, but it won't be a breakout hit," he added.

The spin-off stars Matt LeBlanc's dim-witted character Joey Tribbiani, with Sopranos actress Drea De Matteo as his newly-installed sister Gina.

It follows Joey's life as an aspiring actor as he tries to make it big in Los Angeles.

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