The seventh season of the "Apprentice" franchise was shifted back to its former Thursday night time period after a low-rated run last year on Sunday. This edition—staffed by lower-tier celebrity personalities such as Trace Adkins, Marilu Henner, Vincent Pastore and Stephen Baldwin playing for charity—scored a 4.5 rating among adults 18 to 49 in preliminary Nielsen ratings, winning the night.
NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (3.7) at 8 p.m. and lead-out "ER" (3.6) came in second in their respective hours, behind college football on Fox.
NBC managed to tie Fox overall to win in the preliminary ratings, with Fox's Orange Bowl, Kansas vs. Virginia Tech (4.1), up slightly over last year's match.
In second place, CBS aired a rerun of "CSI" (3.3) bracketed by repeats of "Without a Trace" (1.8 and 2.6).
Third-place ABC had repeats of "Ugly Betty" (1.5), "Grey's Anatomy" (2.0) and "Desperate Housewives" (1.8).
The CW had repeats of "Smallville" (0.9) and "Supernatural" (0.8).