The network "hits" just keep coming, with some return series getting slammed by lower TV ratings.
NBC's up-and-down franchise "The Apprentice" found a new low: a 1.5 rating/5 share among 18-49 viewers, its lowest-rated episode ever. It was some 53% off the last "Celebrity Apprentice" season premiere in spring.
The new "Apprentice" came in at third place in the 9 p.m. hour, at a 1.5 rating -- over a full point behind reruns of CBS' "Big Bang Theory," which landed at 2.6 rating -- the highest-rated show of the night.
"Apprentice" was also in third place in the 10 p.m. hour, behind ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" at a 1.9 rating; and CBS' "The Mentalist" with a 1.7 rating. "Apprentice" also took a 1.5 rating in that hour. The show was also down 44% against the numbers "The Jay Leno Show" pulled in the time period. Some TV marketing analysts say that certain TV reality shows now need major celebrities for marketing spin -- or new and daring concepts to sell.
In their second week, CW's shows "Vampire Diaries" and "Nikita" slipped. Although down 14% from a week ago, "Diaries" still commands a decent 2.4 rating among CW's core women 18-34 demographic; "Nikita" slipped over 20% to a 1.5 number.
Thursday night gave CBS another win -- following up on its Wednesday top honor, as it reached a 2.2/7. It ran two hours of its prized "Big Bang Theory" -- winning all half-hour time periods from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. All this was in preparation to build viewer appetite for the big move of its original episodes to Thursday night.
ABC came in at second place for the night, at 1.8/6; Univision was at 1.7/5; NBC at a 1.4/4; CW at a 1.3/4 and Fox at a 0.7/2.