'Apprentice' finale gives NBC win


NBC enjoyed a rare Thursday night ratings victory thanks to the two-hour season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice."

The reality franchise led the night (12.1 million viewers, 4.5 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49, 12 share) matching its January premiere as the show's best performance since 2005.

"Apprentice" lead-in "Deal or No Deal" (11.2 million, 3.0/9) came in second for the 8 p.m. hour against CBS' higher-rated presentation of the NCAA regional semifinals. CBS placed second overall for the night, with basketball filling its primetime lineup, growing 12% from last week's games.

Fox was third with "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (8.4 million, and "Don't Forget the Lyrics," both up slightly from last week.

The second week of fourth-place ABC's "Miss Guided" was flat (5.8 million, 2.1/6), followed by a "Lost" repeat (5.5 million, 1.8/5) and "Eli Stone" (6.5 million, 1.9/5).

On the CW, "Smallville" (3.8 million, 1.5/5) was up slightly, and "Reaper" (2.8 million, 1.2/3) was even.