The NFL is gone from Thursday night, and Donald Trump and NBC couldn't be happier. With ABC's special Thursday night broadcast of the football league's season opener not an issue last week, the second edition of The Apprentice rebounded sharply in the ratings, soaring 26% above the previous week's premiere rating and ending up as the ratings week's top-ranked show in the Adults 18-49 demographic.

Airing during the oddball period of 9:20-11:00PM ET/PT following "supersized" editions of NBC's Joey and the season premiere of Will & Grace, Apprentice 2's second episode averaged 15.9 million overall viewers and a 8.3/22 rating/share in Adults 18-49. Apprentice's Adults 18-49 performance ranked as the highest Adults 18-49 rating of any non-sports telecast on any network since the May sweeps, as well as the highest Adults 18-49 rating for any reality show since the May 26, 2004 finale of the third season of Fox's American Idol.

Despite the impressive Adults 18-49 performance, The Apprentice still finished well behind a repeat episode of normal 9-10PM ET/PT time period competitor CSI in total viewers. Airing from 9-10PM ET/PT, a repeat episode of the top-ranked CBS crime drama drew 22.32 million viewers, the largest audience of any non-Olympic program since the end of the 2003-04 official television season.

From 9:30-10:00PM, when the CSI rerun aired exclusively against the second episode of The Apprentice 2, CSI placed first by 52% in households (14.7/23 vs. 9.7/15), 5% in Adults 18-49 (8.0/21 vs. 7.6/19), 30% in Adults 25-54 (10.0/23 vs. 7.7/18) and had an 8.62 million viewer advantage (23.30 million vs. 14.68). The Apprentice edged out a rebroadcast of the season finale of CBS's Without A Trace during the 10-11PM hour, drawing a 10.9/18 rating/share and 16.78 million viewers to Trace's 10.5/18 and 16.08 million.