A debate on BBC One's Question Time between the three main political party leaders lost out in the ratings to ITV1's The Bill and Footballers' Wives.
David Dimbleby hosted the live televised debate
An average of 4.1 million people tuned in to see an audience quiz Labour's Tony Blair, the Tories' Michael Howard and Liberal Democrats' Charles Kennedy.
The BBC One debate show special attracted 18% of all those watching TV between 2030 to 2200 BST on Thursday.
The Bill got 6.3 million viewers while Footballers' Wives got 5.8 million.
Channel 4's film Super Size Me, in which documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock spent a month eating McDonald's meals, had 4.2 million viewers.
The Question Time special saw the leaders questioned separately during the 90-minute session in east London.
It was up against The Bill, which was on ITV1 from 2000 to 2100, followed by Footballers' Wives until 2200. Super Size Me ran from 2100 to 2245.
The Question Time ratings climbed to a peak of 4.4 million towards the end, when Mr Blair was grilled about the Iraq war by members of the studio audience.