'Apprentice' lifts NBC to second spot

Led by “Desperate Housewives,” ABC scored a victory in Sunday’s primetime ratings among viewers ages 18-49, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. “Celebrity Apprentice” lifted NBC into second place in the demo, while CBS led the night in overall viewers.

The three-hour season finale of “Apprentice” (3.1 rating/9 share in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) gave NBC its strongest performance from 8-11 p.m. since the night of the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t enough to topple “Housewives” (4.1/11, 12.1 million) and ABC. “Apprentice” did win in its final hour at 10 p.m. over two other season finales, the Alphabet net’s “Brothers and Sisters” (3.0/8, 8.8 million) and CBS’ “The Unit” (2.4/7, 10.5 million)

ABC led off the night with “America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.9/7, 7.0 million), which outpunched “60 Minutes” (1.5/6, 10.0 million) in 18-49. NBC’s “Dateline” (0.9/3, 4.0 million) came in third among 7 p.m. hourlongs.

For Fox at 7 p.m., a new episode of “Sit Down, Shut Up” (0.7/3, 1.6 million) performed worse than a repeat of “American Dad” (1.1/4, 2.3 million) at 7:30.

The 8 p.m. hour belonged to CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (3.0/9, 10.4 million.). ABC followed with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2.6/8, 8.2 million), while Fox offered “The Simpsons” (2.5/8, 5.2 million) and “King of the Hill” (1.8/5, 4.1 million).

At 9 p.m., CBS’ “Cold Case” (2.6/7, 11.8 million) gave “Housewives” a run for its money in overall viewers, but came in fourth in 18-49. Fox snuck ahead of CBS in the demo with “Family Guy” (3.2/9, 6.5 million) and a firstrun “American Dad” (2.4/6, 5.0 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC 2.9/9. NBC 2.5/8, CBS 2.4/7, Fox 1.9/6, Univision 1.4/4, CW 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS 10.5 million, ABC 9.0 million, NBC 7.5 million, Fox 4.4 million, Univision 3.3 million, CW 1.0 million.

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