`Apprentice' trumps rivals on other networks

April 17, 2004|By David Zurawik

On one of the most competitive nights of the television season, the two-hour finale of Donald Trump's The Apprentice crushed the competition Thursday and became the highest-rated regularly scheduled program of the year with young viewers.

Up against three of the highest-rated series on television - American Idol, CSI and Survivor - The Apprentice finished first overall with an average-minute audience of 28 million viewers. (By way of comparison, The Academy Awards had an average minute audience of 43.5 million viewers, while the Super Bowl had 90 million.) NBC estimates that 40.1 million viewers watched some or all the finale.

The Apprentice also finished first among viewers 18 to 49 with one out of every three who were watching television Thursday tuned to NBC, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research.

The Apprentice finale, which more than doubled its closest competitor for young viewers (CSI/Without a Trace on CBS) is the third-most-watched telecast of the year among 18- to 49-year-olds behind The Academy Awards on ABC and the post-Super Bowl special edition of Survivor on CBS.

To read a review of Thursday night's finale of The Apprentice, go online to www.baltimoresun.com/apprentice.

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