NBC's two-hour Apprentice finale was must-see TV from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday, winning its time period(s) in adults, 18-49, and leading NBC to a win for the night in households (14.6 rating/23 share) and the key 18-49 sales demo (11.1/29).
According to NBC, The Apprentice's series-record 13.5/34 was the network's best 18-49 rating in any time period in a year and a half, and its best non-Olympic 18-49 rating in the Thursday night time period in almost three-and-a-half years. At 27 million, it was also NBC's highest viewer average of the season.
CBS came in second in 18-49's (6.8/18) with Survivor, CSI, and Without A Trace. At 8-9, CBS' Survivor won the demo with a 7.4/22, beating out back-to-back Friends repeats on NBC (6.5/19) and the American Idol results show--moved to Thursday thanks to the Bush news conference--and a new Tru Calling on Fox (4.5/13). Even with the victory, CBS will re-run Survivor Friday night for any Idol fans, or anyone else for that matter, who wants to catch up on the contest.
Fox was third in 18-49's for the night (3.2/9), its average brought down by a second new Tru Calling (2.3/6) and a surprisingly lackluster 1.5/4 for an Idol-themed Simpsons repeat (the one where Homer punches Simon Cowell).
ABC limped into fourth-place showing in the demo. It averaged a 1.7/4, with ailing Kingdom Hospital (1.3/3) helping lower the average. A re-run of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition mustered a 1.7/5 at 8-9. ABC's best performer was a heavily hyped Primetime Thursday show on psychics and reincarnation (2.0/5).
At that, ABC barely edged out netlet UPN, which did a 1.6/4 for WWE wrestling.
The WB was sixth, with a .7/2 for Steve Harvey, Like Family, and JKX).