After taking a shellacking at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Donald Trump and Celebrity Apprentice was short-circuited by President Barack Obama's announcement that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
Broadcast networks broke into regularly scheduled programming across the nation Sunday night by 10:45 EDT, skewing the accuracy of overnight ratings, according to Nielsen. The president began speaking at 11:35 p.m. Eastern, meaning that he also cut into the 8 o'clock hour on the West Coast. ABC was the only network that did not return to its scheduled lineup, continuing its news coverage.
Still, preliminary figures showed Trump's NBC show averaged 9.1 million viewers over its two hours (starting at 9/8c) while drawing a 3.2 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds — the night's high. The night's biggest viewership, however, went to ABC's Desperate Housewives — 10.12 million (and 3.0 rating in the advertiser-coveted demo). Also at 9/8c, CBS' Undercover Boss pulled in nearly 8.8 million (2.2 rating).
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At 8/7c, CBS' The Amazing Race took the hour with 9.72 million viewers, while ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (9.48 million) was a close runner-up. The finale of NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant, which crowned Jamawn J. Woods' Soul Daddy the winner, piqued the interest of 6.04 million — a jump from last week's 3.59 million, which was a series low.
In prime time's final hour, Celebrity Apprentice — NBC's top-rated show (albeit at 24tth in total viewership) in the latest weekly ratings — beat new episodes of CSI: Miami (9 million) and Brothers & Sisters (7.36 million).
Even before the stunning development of bin Laden's death, the news had impinged on Sunday's prime time. Fox scuttled hurricane-themed crossover episodes of The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad! in deference to the devastation in the South — where storms and twisters resulted in some 350 deaths last week. So all were reruns. The only first-run series installment on Fox was The Simpsons, which garnered 6.1 million viewers at 8/7c.