Ellen Turner, Helen Ashe
So do TV viewers during the Great Recession like to watch shows about benevolent rich folks or those aiming to get rich?
Secret Millionaire, premiering on ABC more than two years after Fox dumped it, attracted some 12.6 million haves and have-nots at 8/7c Sunday, boosting the two shows that followed it. An hour later, Undercover Boss lured 10.9 million on CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen figures.
And speaking of the rich — and in this case, famous — Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice returned on NBC, averaging about 7.9 million for its two-hour season premiere at 9/8c when David Cassidy was the first to be cashiered. The show's ratings, though, were notably down 16 percent from its premiere last spring.
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At 8, however, the entrepreneurial types on the debut of NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant failed to dish up such a big audience, serving fewer than 4.6 million, Nielsen reported. Meanwhile, Amazing Race finished second to Secret Millionaire with nearly 9.8 million viewers, followed by original episodes of Fox's The Simpsons (6.2 million) and Bob's Burgers (4.9 million).
At 9, ABC's Desperate Housewives lured a viewership of 11.3 million vs. Undercover Boss, the first hour of Celebrity Apprentice, and Fox's Family Guy (6.3 million) and Cleveland Show (4.8 million)
Sunday night kicked off as usual with 60 Minutes winning the hour (nearly 12.5 million viewers) against ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos (7.8 million), Dateline NBC (5.3 million), and reruns of The Simpsons and American Dad (3.9 million each).
The final hour of prime time saw CSI: Miami garnering 10.6 million on CBS and 7.5 million for ABC's Brothers & Sisters against the second half of Celebrity Apprentice.
On basic cable, the Season 5 premiere of Lifetime's Army Wives averaged 4.2 million people at 10/9c — up 27 percent from the fourth-season debut last April — while the premiere of A&E's Breakout Kings brought in 2.8 million viewers, including a network record 1.5 million in the adults 18-to-49-year-old demographic.